CYPRESS TEXAS — Although the Cy Springs Lady Panther softball team fell to Bryan with just two more district games left to play this season, the real story was about how they played.
They never gave up.
Not even with a ten-run-rule bearing down upon them as they entered the bottom of the fifth inning. The Panthers broke the shutout in the bottom of the fifth, leaving the game at 11-1.
“My kids give me everything they’ve got,” said head coach Ryan Baker. “They fight.”
Sadly for the Panthers, the night ended just how every other game has ended this 2019 season: in a loss.
However, after taking over a program that had as many as six coaches one season several years ago, Baker and his assistant Brett Layton have kept consistency as the team’s foundation.
“These are the kids I’ve been given and I’m going to coach them hard,” the head coach said. “They deserve to have a coach that gives them everything.
“We’ve been going brick by brick,” Baker added. “It’s not that we’re lacking the talent, it’s just that our fundamentals are behind.
“We’re behind the curve against schools … where those girls play year-round. I’ve got two or three that play outside of school. My JV is mostly first-year players, never having touched a softball before.
“We’re moving in the right direction, but our record doesn’t show it. I think we’re in a better place now, than we were four years ago when I took over the program.”
For example, if you take out first two innings of Friday’s game, Bryan would’ve had a one-run ballgame.
“We’ll get an error, and then have another error, and then it skyrockets and then we’ve dug a hole,” Baker said about the Panthers’ biggest obstacle to overcome as this season comes to a close next week. “But my kids keep fighting and they give everything they’ve got.”
When asked about how potential players can improve their skills for the 2020 season, Baker mentioned the most practical way to learn the game better: By playing more.
Even a recreational team would do the trick.
“Even if it’s not super competitive; just to play,” said the head coach. “When you don’t have kids that play consistently, that’s the hole you’re in: They need to play.”
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