Coming off a 12-15-1 campaign, third-place finish in District 6-4A and bi-district championship in 2023, the Brownwood Lady Lions begin their second regular season under head coach Cherita Munguia at 6 p.m. Wednesday when they host Class 3A Jim Ned.
“It’s a good place to start for us,” Munguia said of Jim Ned on a recent edition of the Brownwood Lions Coach’s Show on KOXE. “They’re a team that’s going to bring some quality at-bats, which will give our defense some work, and they usually have good pitching.”
Regarding the goals for the season heading into the opener, Munguia said, “The girls wants longevity. They want to match what they did last season and they want to surpass it. They want to make it out of district, into the playoffs and continue going on. We want to be tenacious, we want to be aggressive, and we’re not going to take an at-bat or a single ball in play for granted.”
Among the key returnees from last season’s squad are 6-4A Catcher of the Year Chloe Walls, first-team pitcher Tynlea Wilson, and second-team selections Peyton Pena, Jakayla Peek and Jeniffer Romero.
“Tynlea had the pitching solely on her back last season and it will probably look the same this season,” Munguia said. “She’s added new pitches to her arsenal and we’ve added to her conditioning so she’s better prepared for doubleheaders. Chloe is a two-year all-state catcher and she’s taken on a more vocal role. She led by example before before and now she’s doing both. Jakayla is back in left field and we’re looking for even more of an impact from her in the lineup.”
The other two all-district returnees are shifting positions.
“Jeniffer, our left-handed slapper, is moving from second base to center field,” Munguia said. “She’s also added to the things that she can do at the plate. Peyton has moved from right field to first base. You’ve got have someone with a glove that can stop anything even if your throw is off, and everybody around her trusts her.”
Varsity newcomers to keep an eye on this season include third baseman Carlee Burks and shortstop Lila Mares.
“Carlee has stepped into the third base position and she’s taken some balls hot of the bat without hesitation, and she has a heck of a bat,” Munguia said. “Lila is a freshman with big shoes to fill, but she fields the ball with grace, effortlessly, and she’s putting the ball in play.”
Other Lady Lions expected to contribute this season include Mykaela Mendoza, Caden Christmas, and Addison Welch.
Following Monday’s opener, the Lady Lions face Llano, Merkel, San Angelo Central, Brady and Gatesville and compete in tournaments in Abilene, Llano and Graham before 6-4A action begins.
“I need to see us look a little bit more cohesive,” Munguia said of the pre-district goals. “There’s still a little hesitation in the middle infield with some youth there. Also, we have to not only put bats on perfect pitches, but sometimes you’re fighting against the zone as well as the pitcher, and you have to able to adjust to high or low zones,. We need to ride out the pitches that aren’t perfect and make sure we’re connecting.”
District competition kicks off March 19 at Glen Rose, with Stephenville, Mineral Wells and Graham again on the schedule for two games apiece.
“It’s anybody’s ball game and I have no guesses,” Munguia said in regard to how she sees the district shaping up. “Graham has some serious pitching on its roster and hot bats so they’re well-rounded. Stephenville had 46 girls out for softball this year, and that’s always a rivalry game. And Mineral Wells has a new coach that’s very seasoned and that should serve them well.”