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The future is bright for the Panthers
web Panther JV1
The JV Panthers in front (l-r) are Cameron Harris, Cody French, Chris Rafferty, Samuel Wilson, Jovan Shuman, Ryan Smiley and Eddie Chipple. In back (l-r) are coach Paul Davis, Josh Rubio, Trey Sikes, Steven Crowley, Aaron Pringle, Levi Deese, Joe Watkins, Greg Sikes and Matt Desbiens. - photo by Photo by Pat Watkins
Despite Liberty County High School’s baseball team missing  the postseason this year, coach Steve Cotrell is excited about the future of the program.
That’s because he has several players returning, including several enthusiastic ninth and tenth graders.
Several of the team’s freshmen and sophomores and some eighth graders competed on the junior varsity team.
They challenged teams comprised mainly of sophomores and finished the season 6-9, including a 12-inning 5-4 win over Calvary Day School.
The team also took some lumps this season, losing some games by at least 10 runs.
But, Cotrell said the team never got down and always played with excitement.
Some of the players spent time at the varsity level this season, but Cotrell said they all have shots at starting next year on varsity. Summer league starts in June and Cotrell is excited.
“It’s going to be fun this summer when those eighth graders are stepping in the place for the seniors” he said. “The young guys aren’t scared to play. This summer it’s going to be a challenge session every day out.”
Cotrell said that every position will be up for grabs next year and that summer ball is important for the team to have success.
“You don’t get your arms in shape until halfway through the spring, so you start seeing progress toward the end of the spring and summer,” Cotrell said. “Summer is where you make your jumps and progress.”
Some of the eighth graders that caught Cotrell’s eye include Joe Watkins, Matt Desbiens and Cameron Harris.
Cotrell said  Watkins knows how to play the game and is  confident about himself.
Harris led the JV in hitting and Desbiens did a great job behind the plate. Cotrell said he may be called on to catch at the varsity level next year.
Paul Davis, who coached the JV team this season, echoes Cotrell.
“I couldn’t ask for a better season,” he said. “They have learned that you have to step out on the field and play all seven innings hard every time. They aren’t afraid to step out on the field against anybody.”

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