LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin 12-and-under Little League All-Star team is headed to national television on August 3rd in Waco. The boys will make their ESPN debut at the Southwest Regional Tournament, should they win that tournament they would be booking flights for Williamsport, Pennsylvania and the Little League World Series.
The team of junior high school baseball players admitted they didn't expect to come this far.
"We thought we might make it to the state tournament," said Kolton Eberlan, Lufkin's star pitcher. "But we really thought we would lose their, I guess it's because we all believe in each other that we came back and won it all."
This team isn't the biggest, and they don't have the most depth. In fact they have only 10 players of the 14 allowed on a little league roster. But what they lack for in skill they make up for in team spirit.
"We just all trust one another, we can count on each other when we need a base hit," said Tyler Torres, the team's catcher. "We never believe we are out of a game."
This group of future Panthers has been together a long time, and more important than any win, they are forming friendships.
"We have played together a long time," said Torres. "When there is down town we all just have fun together. It definitely helps us on the field since we are all friends."
The tournament will feature pool play on the Longhorn Network beginning on Friday, August 3rd. Pool play continues through Monday and should they win their group the boys would then be featured on ESPN3 for the semifinals. Finally the finals to determine who is headed to Williamsport will be play on Thursday, August 9th and will be featured on ESPN 2 at 8:00 p.m.
The full Lufkin (Texas East) schedule can be found below:
Fri, Aug. 3
8:30 p.m., Southwest Region Pool B: Oklahoma vs. Texas East (Lufkin), Hart and Graves, Longhorn Network
Sun, Aug. 5
5 p.m., Southwest Region Pool B: Texas East vs. Texas West, Hart and Graves, Longhorn Network
Mon, Aug. 6
5 p.m., Southwest Region Pool B: Colorado vs. Texas East, Hart and Graves, Longhorn Network
Tues, Aug. 7
Semifinals, TBD, If necessary, ESPN3
Thurs, Aug. 9
Finals, TBD, If necessary, ESPN2