BULLARD — For many of the Bullard Panthers baseball players this will be their last season to claim a state championship. After the Panthers came so close to achieving that goal in basketball season only to be disappointed with a loss in the Class 3A regional final, the senior players, many of which were on the basketball team, are more motivated now than ever.

“Must of us were on the basketball team,” said senior first-baseman Chance Moore. “I think there were seven of us. Most of the seniors have been on the (baseball) team for three or four years, so we know what we’re doing and what’s going on.

“This (baseball season) is the last chance for many of us to go to state and win a ring.”

Due to the extended basketball season, many of the players did not join the baseball team until March 6. Now they have to make the transition from basketball to baseball and get in the work they missed during their playoff run.

“We’re all staying after practice getting in extra cuts (swings) and working on fundamentals,” Moore said. “We are trying to make up for the work we missed, so we’re doing what we have to do to get ready.”

The experience of the seniors will be an asset to the underclassmen and the Panthers as they work through the baseball season.

“A lot of the underclassmen look up to us,” Moore said. “We set a high standard for them and they know that we expect them to reach that level.”

Moore said it is because of the high standards that he believes Bullard will have a successful season. He said the way the Panthers approach each practice allows for nothing less.

“We are just trying to get the best we can out of every practice,” Moore said. “We give it 110 percent all the time, and if we do that everything will work out.”

Bullard had a solid season a year ago and made it to the regional quarterfinals before losing to eventual Class 3A State Champion Carthage in the third game of a best-of-three series. This season, Moore said he and his teammates are looking forward to having that same success, but they would like to change the ending.

Before Bullard gets to the playoffs, they will have to work their way through District 15-3A and past Lindale, which is currently ranked No. 6 in the state in Class 3A.

“We look forward to playing Lindale because we know a bunch of guys on the team,” Moore said. “We talk it up with them every time we play each other.

“Last year, they beat us at our place and we beat them at their place. We really want to beat them.”

The Panthers competed in the Ark-La-Tex Tournament in Monroe, La. Thursday through Saturday and will open district play at home against Van at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Scores from the tournament were not available as of press time. Keep reading the Daily Progress for results.

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