Jeremy Collins might be the new head softball coach at Magnolia West, but he is certainly no stranger to the program or its past success.
Collins spent seven years coaching baseball at the school before taking over as the head softball coach at College Park. Now he is back and ready to get to work.
The Lady Mustangs finished with a 9-20 overall record last spring, which included a 4-10 mark in District 19-5A. Magnolia West is hoping to get back into the playoffs after a two-year hiatus that came on the heels of a regional finals appearance.
According to Collins, his transition into the head coaching role has been smooth.
“What’s been really exciting about our girls is how hard they’ve worked,” Collins said. “They’ve done a great job all through the fall and leading up into the beginning of the season. They’re doing the right things, having discipline and passion for the game and continuing to work on character. Those are the three things we talk about. We have a young core group of girls that are molding together and working together, and they’re pretty talented.”
The leaders of the team are a pair of juniors — pitcher Toni Tamborello and catcher Liberty Herrera. The battery mates will be critical to the success of the team and will be tasked with helping the younger players develop. The rest of the roster is talented, but relatively young.
“Obviously, the girl in the circle is the one everybody looks to when we’re on the field,” Collins said. “(Tamborello) being able to stay calm in every situation helps them a lot. She does a great job of leading them and helping them understand that, yeah, we’re going to make mistakes, but being able to get over those and try to overcome those, that’s a big deal.”
Collins is excited about the potential his younger players have shown thus far. It will be a trial by fire for a lot of them as they step into starting varsity roles for the first time.
“Everybody in the infield is a freshman or sophomore,” Collins said. “They’re learning on the fly and looking to those leaders to kind of help them with anything they need. … We’re really young, so right now, we’re still developing. But I really have high expectations for this lineup. The defense is still coming along, but they can really hit the ball — they can swing.”
Magnolia West will once again be competing in District 19-5A. The Lady Mustangs will take on crosstown rival Magnolia, Waller, A&M Consolidated, College Station, Katy Paetow, Bryan Rudder and Brenham with hopes of securing one of the top four spots.
“We look forward to the challenge, and we don’t turn away from that,” Collins said. “We want to play the best, and we want to beat the best. That’s the only way we’re going to get better. Our girls know that, and they look for that challenge. We’re looking to make a splash in this district and show them that we’re here and we’re going to be up for that.”