CENTRAL HEIGHTS, TX (KTRE) - There is one more round before the Central Heights boys baseball team can get to the big dance.
Their goal is so close. "If we get by this round then we get to practice one more time before we go to Austin," mused Craig Fuller, Central Heights Head Baseball Coach.
"We can't really look past Hughes Springs, but the one goal we have is Austin," said Trent Fuller, Central Heights Center Fielder.
What a prize that would be for this father and son who have shared a coach-player relationship since little league. In fact, most of the players on this team have played together since they were seven and eight years old.
When they reached high school, their goal of winning a state title was in sight. "We've been looking for this for four years, and now we're finally here, pitching is good, hitting is good, we feel real confident," said Zachary Todd, Central Heights Catcher.
They are taking that confidence into this week's regional finals. These are boyhood friends, including eight graduating seniors. Both coaches also have a son playing and the fan support is tremendous.
The state bound girls softball team has already given them a taste of success. "They got a standing ovation when they walked into the stadium. And it's no coincidence, I think, when we scored eight runs that inning and won Game 2. I think it's just great for the community," said Coach Fuller.
"Central Heights has always been strong, really powerhouse teams, so everybody respects Central Heights," said Shannon Todd, second baseman for the team.
And they hope to keep that winning tradition going. First, they have to get past Hughes Springs and then on to Austin for the state finals.
"It's great, you can taste it. You can taste that dream you've always talked about as little kids and everything and it's almost there," said Joseph Clifton, Central Heights 1st baseman.
One more winning round and they will be state bound.
The Central Heights boys play Hughes Springs TONIGHT, 7:30, in Tyler at Mike Carter Field against the Hughes Springs Mustangs.
We will have an interview with Devils head Coach Fuller tonight on KTRE's East Texas News at 6 as he shares his words of wisdom before game time.
On the girls' side, Central Heights Lady Devils play Wall Thursday afternoon at 4:30 in the State semi-finals. Grapeland Sandiettes play Thursday morning at 11 against Albany. And Huntington plays Celina Friday morning at 8:30.