LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – Panthers pride runs deep in Lufkin, and while their prowess on their grid-iron is well documented, the roots of that purple passion for many, started on the baseball diamond.
“Lufkin has been a baseball town a lot longer than it’s been a football town, dating back to the early 50s when they started the program, into the 60s and won a state championship then and then the teams of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and now the 2000s,” said Lufkin head baseball coach John Cobb.
Much of that history was built on their off-campus home, Morris Frank Park, and 2021 will be their final season in these old confines.
“We’ve grown up since we were, shoot, 8 years old, we dream of playing on this field so it’s great to have a lot of memories and come out here and work on this field,” said senior first baseman Matthew Gorman.
“This field has been around a long time, I played high school baseball on this field,” said Cobb. “There are lots of guys who came before us who played on this field.”
But next season, the Panthers will have a brand new home, on campus.
As part of a $75 million bond, the school is finishing up the new baseball field.
While it won’t be fully finished, this coming Saturday, the team will get to take on Livingston, in the new facility.
“It’s a big blessing because you know they worked really hard on this, this has been a big opportunity for everyone in the community,” said Gorman.
It’ll be a special opportunity for the Panthers, and while grateful, their eyes remain focused on winning some hardware this summer.
“We’ve worked our butts off all this season, since the beginning of August, you know, every day has been dedicated so it’s great to come out here great to work hard just got to keep it up from until, through hopefully June,” said Gorman.
Lufkin will take on Livingston in the new complex at noon on Saturday.
Watch the video to see Garrett Sanders’ story.