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A Tiger Makeover

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MERCEDES – Kristy Leal came to Mercedes after coaching at San Benito for two years. Off the softball diamond, Leal wanted to change things up a bit for the Tigers.

“The main thing was really to take pride in our facility,” said Leal. “There were a few things I wanted to fix up.”

When it comes to fixing things, Leal has a hands-on approach. Leal decided to give the team storage barn a new paint job. The Tigers’ coach gave it a whole new look.

“When she was done repainting it, we were real excited,” said Mercedes sophomore Natalie Trevino. “We don’t really get new things a lot of the time. When we got the new barn, it was amazing.”

When Coach Leal repainted the barn, she wanted to represent the identity of Mercedes softball, so she took some old school logos and mixed them up with new ideas.

“I’m a huge LSU fan so I love the eye of the Tiger,” said Leal. “I know the jungle is something that’s been with Mercedes for a long time, we decided to put that there.”

“It’s really cool to see when we pass by and put our equipment away,” said Mercedes senior Erinn Ramirez. “I think it just brings out the excitement for softball.”

Changes didn’t stop there. Leal took the Tigers on more trips as a team.

After a tournament in San Antonio, they drive to Austin to catch Texas play top-ranked Washington.

“It motivates you,” said Trevino. “You want to be that good.”

“The kids were able to talk to the head coach,” said Leal. “They were also able to talk to their players and that was something very exciting.”

From paint projects to trips out of town, it’s been an eventful first year at Mercedes for Coach Leal. For her, it’s about creating a family atmosphere. Building a bond beyond the softball diamond.

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