Recipe for success: How the 'Thundering 13' became a global power

Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball
Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball

WILLIAMSPORT, PA (KTRE) - The stars have aligned for the Lufkin Little League All-Stars in order for them to make it to the World Series.

It is luck that such a talented pool can come together in one league at one point at 12 and 13 years of age. But 13 individuals and a manager have worked to make sure they didn't let that opportunity slip by.

For the stars to align, it takes the perfect formula to create a World Series team.

The first ingredient is a seasoned coach who can work with the team full-time. Bud Maddux is retired but considered the grandfather of baseball in Lufkin. When he saw this crop of talent, he volunteered to coach the team.

"He practiced with them and had the experience and history and knew how to put together a good team and the boys are just talented as it is and so the hard work the boys have given with the instructions Bud has given them has paid off," Assistant Coach Ryan Deaton said.

"He's a great coach," Collin Ross said. "What he does is great for us and I do think if he wasn't our coach we wouldn't be here."

The second ingredient is a committed group of individuals.

"It's their personality," Maddux said. "They came and accepted what we had and coming out and working and being responsible for what you do. Not waiting on somebody else to do it. Not taking care of someone else's business but taking care of your own. It's really been nice."

The third ingredient is one part accountability and another part camaraderie.

"The team doesn't get tired so why would I get tired?' Christian Mumphery said. "Everyone has an important role so I can't slack off my job and then the team collapses. That's my motivation."

"What Bud was able to do was take a very talented group and practice with them a lot and get them disciplined and eventually they started playing like a team and so now you got a team, not any individuals, out there and they're all working together and playing hard," Deaton said.

"He's just pushing us to our limits and working with us as much as he can and we've just gotten really close and have a special bond," said Hunter Ditsworth. "We're practicing every day, being around each other 24/7. We've been with each other a really long time. There's no arguing with Coach Bud because then we'll be running and stuff so we've just gotten really close and gotten better."

Of course, talent and hard work play a vital part. Deaton calls this talent crop a "once-in-a-lifetime" situation when you look at the pitchers, hitters and fielders.

Maddux is well-known for pushing baseball players to the limits and this has not been an exception. But the players see the results of the hard work and they're thankful for "Coach Bud."

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