This weekend brings the 3rd round of the UIL baseball playoffs for United South as they look to keep up their recent success. It's left some wondering, ‘what is different about this year’s Panthers?’ To them it's all about one word, family
"When one fails we pick them up and after a loss we were able to come back and that's where the family comes in, we pick each other up." (Bryan Mixumi, South 2B)
"A bunch of guys that like to be around each other a lot, they not only friends on the field but off the field they are always together, the parents are always together, this is a family environment we try to run here." (Dante Madrigal, South Head Coach)
Even with a convincing performance in the area round, the Panthers know they still have room to grow.
"We tell them to do what's best for the team and prepare to get better. Everything we do has a purpose and that purpose is to get better and hopefully playing after this weekend." (Madrigal)
‘For the first time since 2003,’ that's a phrase that has been used a lot around United South's baseball program this spring as that team has been the benchmark for success at the school. Now the 2019 version of the Panthers is hoping they are laying a foundation for things to come.
"Hopefully we are for everyone to keep on the tradition going. It's important for us just to leave for the young guys for them to keep their heads in the game." (Hector Alva, South Pitcher)
"The seniors are really putting an example for the younger guys and hopefully they can lean on that next year." (Mixumi)
It's a feeling that is trickling down to even the small fields around the Gateway City as Coach Madrigal hears,
"Coach I want to play at United South and this is a 7 or 8 year old kid, so hopefully these last two or three years has produced what we've done so far and hopefully we continue after this year." (Madrigal)
Before all that though the Panthers have business to attend to this week and two more wins would put them on even ground with that ‘03 team in the regional semifinals.
"We just gotta show up and play our game, hopefully Saturday we'll be celebrating after game two or game three." (Madrigal)
"This is a moment I've been preparing for for four years already, so I feel pretty confident and we're ready to go." (Mixumi)