The Sealy Tiger sports year came to an end with the Liberty Hill Panthers winning the first two games of a best-of-three regional quarterfinal baseball series to end last week at The Yards of Cameron.
The host Panthers got out to four runs in the first two innings of Game 1 and scored five in the second inning of Game 2 as the visiting team. Tiger skipper Dane Bennett spoke to some of the early miscues his team experienced through those opening innings of both games.
“We, unfortunately, made some key mistakes early in Games 1 and 2 that allowed the momentum to slip and go to Liberty Hill’s favor,” he said. “We had our chances and we had our opportunities, but we were not able to capitalize on our opportunities, whereas Liberty Hill was able to and that is why they are moving on this week.”
He also tipped his cap to the opposing team’s skill and especially the pitching staff that limited Sealy to just three runs on six hits over the two games.
“We ran into a very good Liberty Hill team that has a chance to do something special this year,” he said. “They have two really good pitchers and throughout their lineup they are very solid. Unfortunately, it’s not the ending we were looking for but at the end of the day only one team in the state gets to have that happy ending and every other team in the playoffs has to experience the same feeling that we experienced.”
That sour feeling will likely remain on the minds of the underclassmen who won’t be able to avenge the loss until next year. For others, however, that is how their Tiger baseball career ends, but the coach knows their impact is not ending any time soon.
“I cannot say enough about these eight seniors that I got to work with this year,” he said. “Since I first came to Sealy last year, these seniors have done nothing but work hard, buy into what myself and the staff were selling, be great leaders, and most importantly be great men on and off the field.
“These seniors have left a long-lasting impression on Sealy High School and Sealy athletics through their four years here. They have accomplished great things and have nothing to hold their heads down about. These men have very bright futures ahead of them and I am very excited to see where life takes them.”
The bond they created does not come easily and will not be forgotten anytime soon and Bennett was sure to leave them with some lasting advice.
“Some of the things that I talked to the team about in the end I have already mentioned but most of what we talked about is remembering the brotherhood that we had as a team this year,” he said.
He said they also talked about the “understanding that we were one of 32 teams left in the whole state of 4A that had a chance to continue playing for a state title and that I hope after all this, they are able to take specific life-long memories from the field that will help them to become great men as they go to college and one day become husbands and fathers.”