by Greg Higgins
(Pictured L-R: Seth Parker, Blayce Lassiter , Kobey Emeyabbi , Trent Smith, Cade Conway, Reese Mobley, Chance Thornton, Mason Stephens, Cooper Rast, Mason Ingram, Jaxon Noble)
In his first season as head coach of the North Lamar Panthers, Bric Steed watched his team grow, succeed and learn how to play through adversity. He’s hoping those lessons will help propel the 2020 baseball team to even new heights.
“It’s extremely motivating,” coach Steed said about last year’s first round playoff exit. “Their goal is to finish the season in their jerseys with a win. That’s their goal. To win a state championship.”
(Pictured L-R: Trent Smith, Kobey Emeyabbi, Chance Thornton, Reese Mobley, Cade Conway, Mason Stephens)
Last year’s team lost a heart-breaking playoff round to Spring Hill in three games. North Lamar won the first game on a walk-off homer in extra innings when Alec Asay planted a fastball over the left field fence. North Lamar would lose games two and three of the series to end their season.
That’s last year’s team, though. This is a new year with a new team and they are excited to get the season rolling. On Wednesday afternoon, the Panthers held their first baseball media day on the campus of North Lamar.
“The players want an opportunity to be treated like you would be treated in a big-time program,” coach Steed said about media days. “That’s what we’re trying to create here so why not make it an environment where you feel that way and the kids will respond.”
Not only did coach Steed have his players available for interviews, he also used this opportunity to unveil new uniforms. The players walked out onto the field flashing a new alternate black jersey to go with a black hat. The hat features the Panther logo on the front of the cap with a Texas State flag on the back.
“The kids wanted to have their school colors in a black uniform,” he continued. “Because we have great fundraisers and great parents, we’re able to do things like that and choose what we want and make it happen.”
With the new black uniform added to the white and blue tops, North Lamar now has six different combinations they can put together. Although there isn’t any word yet on when they will make their season debut, you can bet they’ll be worn around POS Long Field on probably more than one occasion this year.
The four captains on the team, Reece Mobley, Trenton Smith, Cade Conway and Chance Thornton all talked about getting on the field this year.
Mobley, the senior catcher for North Lamar is looking forward to leading the team with energy and passion for the game. Having played baseball since he was four years old, Mobley has seen his share of ups and downs on the diamond.
Conway plays centerfield for the Panthers and is looking to be more vocal as a leader for the team.
“Last year Alec [Asay] and Jay [Walters] were the vocal leaders,” Conway said. “I just did my job and did what I needed to help my team. This year I think I’m going to have to be a little more vocal and be more positive.”
One of the pitchers on the team, Smith, also plays shortstop and is trying to encourage his teammates to be the best they can be on the diamond.
“If we don’t have the players playing their best, we won’t be able to fulfill the dreams we have.
The final captain, Thornton, plays second base for North Lamar.
“We’ve got a great group of seniors this year and we’re going to rely on all of them. Not just me. We’re looking forward to a great year.
After talking about leadership, every one of the captains talked about how much fun it is to play for coach Steed. They also talked about the energy he brings each and every day.
“I love him,” Mobley said about his coach. “He’s the best coach I’ve ever had. He brings great energy. Great mindset. Great values about how we should be men in life.”
When asked which of the jerseys is their favorite, every one of them said “Black” without hesitation.