Nederland softball having fun as squad gets ready for Barbers Hill in Round 3

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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NEDERLAND — The Nederland softball team is taking on Barbers Hill in the third round of the 5A playoffs Thursday in a single-elimination game.

The game starts at 6:30 p.m. at Lamar University.

The Bulldogs enter the contest with wins over Angleton and Lamar Consolidated in the first two rounds of the 2024 state playoff.

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Nederland dropped the first game to Angleton 12-5, but responded with 1-0 and 6-5 wins to advance. The team wrapped up a 6-2 Game 3 win against Lamar Consolidated over the weekend.

Barbers Hill is coming off a dominant 16-0 win over Fulshear.

The Eagles are 32-4-2 on the season and beat Nederland 6-0 and 3-0 in earlier matchups.

Nederland Head Coach Will Mallette said his team is having as much fun as he has seen in his time with the program.

“There has been a consistent growth throughout the season,” he said. “We went to some really tough tournaments early on. We are still a game below .500, but it doesn’t show the growth and how well the girls are playing. We have a lot of young players who are hungry. We keep pushing them and pushing them, and they keep responding.”

Mallette praised him team for adjusting to and overcoming adversity.

“The lineup we had at the start of the season is nothing like what we have now,” he said laughing. “It is completely different. We have three freshmen starting and four sophomores. It has been enjoyable to watch them go through the struggles and figure it out. It has been one of the most fun seasons I can remember coaching.”

The coach said senior Laney Thompson, who plays third base, is the team’s emotional leader.

“She sets the tone for the team and has been a fulltime starter since her sophomore year,” he said. “She is super consistent and works really hard.”

Mallette also said junior outfielder Addison Gillard is playing well while taking on a leadership mentality.

“She went from being put down on JV last year to help with leadership down there and has been a huge leader for us,” the coach said. “She brings a lot of energy.”

Sophomore catcher Reese Robbins is playing a big role in the team’s playoff run.

In Saturday’s Game 3 win, she launched two homeruns. The first tied the game at 2-2, and the second gave the Bulldogs the lead.

Mallette said freshman pitcher Morgan Barron is a pleasant surprise for the Bulldogs.

“She has been a game changer for us,” he said. “As the season progressed, we were able to put more on her shoulders. I don’t think she knows how good she is going to be. I can’t even imagine how good she is going to be in three years.”