Panther Baseball State Champions honored on 50th anniversary

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The crowd went wild as champions from50 years ago emerged on the Lufkin Panther baseball field.

Friday night's varsity game againstcollege park also marked the landmark anniversary of the only Lufkin baseballteam to win a state title.

"50 years later they stillremember you they still bring these old codgers out here on the field that whatit means because they still remember," said Mike Mayberry, 1st basemen1963 Championship team.

16 members of the championship teamwere honored at the game, first baseman Mike Mayberry says it was great gettingthe team back together, like no time had passed at all.

"Most of us don't remember thegame, every game was exciting, we played from little league all the waythrough," said Mayberry.

Before the game the men met with thecurrent team and gave a few last minute tips.

Head Coach Clay Berry says thechampionship team is an example for current players striving to reach the samegoal.

They love seeing these older guys comeback and tell their stories and the things, the experiences they had during thestate tournament and participating in it," said Berry.

Mayberry says before the game the team visitedthe field where they used to play and says the sounds and smells are just howhe remembers.

But even though much has changed, Mayberrybelieves it still takes determination to become the best.

"There was a lot lessdistractions for young people now there so much to do but if you're a baseballplayer you've got to be dedicated," said Mayberry.

The 1963 championship team presentedcurrent panthers with a signed baseball for good luck.

While the team is off to a rough startin district they're hoping to turn it around and follow in the footsteps ofchampions.

The game ended around 8:15 withcollege park defeating the panthers 10 to 0.

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