LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The fall is typically reserved for Football but Lufkin Middle school is hoping to build a thriving baseball and softball program.
The school recently had tryouts for the programs and over 100 boys showed up. The numbers were eventually cut down to 45.
"We started looking at the program last year," middle school principal Jesus Gomez said. "It really was Coach Cobb at the high school that helped us do all the leg work and found a league for us to play in."
The three Lufkin schools will play 10 games each. The league they are in includes teams from Central, Hudson, Woden, Central Heights, Gary, Latexo and Onalaska.
"It is really awesome that I am doing this," catcher Charlie Deaton said. "It is the first time Lufkin has a middle school baseball program. it is kind of cool."
"It is a great opportunity," short stop Sam Flores said. "I think that we will show the surrounding areas that we can play ball with everybody and maybe we can get some better competition."
The players on the team are from all skill sets and some are U.S. Champions, fresh off appearances on the world stage at the Little League World Series. Eight of the Lufkin All-Stars are participating in the program. They are spread out across the teams.
For those eight, gone are the crowds of 20,000. Here you will find the stands packed with family, friends and future Panthers.
"I already miss it kind of even though we have been playing a long time," outfielder Christian Mumphrey said. "I still want to come out and play."
Despite a full summer on the road, Deaton was ready to hit the field when he learned of the tryouts.
"It is baseball," Deaton said. "I love the game. I've been playing it my whole life. Why stop now. I've been wanting to play back in Lufkin for a while now."
The kids that did not make the trip to Williamsport are not intimidated. They have no reason to be. They are the friends they have known their whole life and have spent hours in school with. Some of them were good enough but just too old.
"They are my friends and I really loved watching them in Williamsport and cheering them on," Flores said. "We can come out here with all the other teams and teach kids and help them get better."
To them it is just Base ball.
"We are looking forward to showing all the teams that we are good here in Lufkin," outfielder Cooper Perry said.
Most of the games are on Thursday and Saturdays.