The Panthers started the season 11-0 winning all the games in their first two tournaments. District play started on March 15, and the Panthers have their sights set on the playoffs.
“The expectation from day one in the fall was to win the district championship,” head coach Darrell Preston said. “Not just get in the playoffs, but to win it.”
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Junior pitcher Austin Smith said he feels like this year’s team is the strongest they have ever had.
“This year is supposed to be the year,” said Smith.
The Panthers have “good, strong, senior leaders” and several juniors that played on the varsity team last year, said Preston.
Despite the large veteran presence on the team, the Panthers are still finding ways to improve their game.
Senior catcher Andrew Medford said the biggest improvement to this year’s team is their mental game.
“Kids last year would get down on each other,” said Medford. “But this year, I feel that everybody has come together as a team and playing well.”
Smith says the team’s biggest strength comes from their pitching and the middle of their batting order.
“We have a really good pitching staff,” said Smith. “Also a really good lineup. Our middle of the order is really dangerous.”
Preston also said that the team’s hitting has been very good this year.
“We’ve proven that we can hit and win ball games,” said Preston.
The Panthers lost their first district game to North Crowley High School, but Preston is not put off by the loss.
“If you can’t handle failure, you don’t need to be in it [baseball] because it’s not if you’re gonna fail, it’s when,” said Preston. “If we can handle the ups and downs, we’ll be ok.”