SAN ANTONIO — Middle school students in the Harlandale Independent School District have the first school-sanctioned middle school baseball and softball teams in San Antonio.
The field of dreams may need a little work at Harlandale Independent School District Middle Schools, but at least they exist. HISD gave the green light for young athletes to have system-supported baseball and softball teams this year.
"District making history," Coach Sabrina Aguilar said. "I'm proud to be part of this first group that got to coach these girls."
Aguilar is a first-time coach who is leading the Lady Trojans at Terrell Wells Middle School. She is over more than 30 7th and 8th graders.
"I've been waiting to coach forever," she said.
The product of a sports coach house herself, Aguilar is building a softball team from the ground up. Some of her players have experience. Others are novices.
"I play pitcher mostly because we don't have a pitcher, but coach will sometimes put me at second base," Madelynn Ruiz said.
Ruiz, an 8th grader, is a captain on the team. She's been playing some form of soft since she was three. When she heard the district had approved middle school softball, she got pumped.
"I was super excited," she said. "It was more about just being able to play with my friends and just seeing how they would react---and like--Oh my God, it's a new sport."
Her longtime friend Caitlyn Hines is also a co-captain on the team. The 13-year-old athlete who plays third base and catcher has played since she was a little girl.
Hines is using her experience to help shape the team.
"The intensity of the game really excited me," she said. "To be on the field every single day, putting in the work to get better."
The Lady Trojans work hard to win all eight of their games. Since they are the only middle school competitors in San Antonio, all opponents are at Harlandale Middle School, Leal Middle School, and Kingsborough Middle School. All of the inner-district rivals have baseball and softball teams.
"It was nerve-wracking but exciting at the same time," Hines said.
The team won their first game. The second got canceled by the weather.
Teams at Terrell Wells continue to practice toward becoming better on the grassy field next to their school. They are hoping for an upgraded practice field. But not even that deters them from their historic inaugural year.
"They get to--ten years from now, say I was on the very first softball team in middle school in San Antonio," Aguilar said.
Ruiz realizes the commitment to the team. The 13-year-old also reassures her teammates to take off some of the pressure.
"Everybody makes mistakes. I make mistakes," Ruiz said. "It's not going to be a thing where--Oh my God---like you made a mistake."
The team must have expectations, but a crucial part of establishing their squad is having patience. That's more important to the team leaders who get first hit at building a tradition for athletes to follow.
"They're really good with each other, and they're proud of each other---and a team," Aguilar said. "They're the definition of a team."