After an up and down start to the season, the Kingwood Park Panthers baseball team has used toughness, pitching and timely play to peak at the just the right time of year.
Now, with 15 wins in a row under their belt, they are headed back to the third round of the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years.
After dispatching of the Vidor Pirates in the bi-district round, the Panthers faced off with the Milby Buffaloes in the area round. Much like the Panthers, Milby came into the area round with a lengthy win streak of their own.
The first game was close until the seventh inning, when the Panthers offense broke loose for five runs, leading the Panthers to a 7-1 victory.
The second game, also a pitcher’s duel for the most part, went the way of the Panthers as well, as they won 3-1 to advance back to the regional quarterfinals.
Panther coach Bruce Cox says he and the team feels very confident about his pitching staff at this point of the season.
It’s a confidence well founded; in 13 of the 15 games in Park’s win streak, the Panthers have allowed no more than one run.
“We’ve had some guys step up, and they’re throwing the ball really well right now, and we’re just gonna keep leaning on those guys and trust them to keep attacking the strike zone, trusting the defense and getting after it,” Cox said.
The Panthers will next meet the Santa Fe Indians in the 5A Region III quarterfinals; Santa Fe advanced to this round with a third-game victory over Port Neches Groves in the area round.
In the 6A-playoffs, the Atascocita Eagles had a good weekend on both the baseball and softball diamonds; baseball defeated Clear Falls in a two-game sweep and will face LaPorte in the 6A Region III quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, softball defeated Brazoswood in the 6A Region III quarterfinals and will face Bellair in the semifinals.