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HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Panthers get ready for new season - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: Panthers get ready for new season

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Posted: Monday, February 24, 2020 8:38 pm

As the Permian baseball team prepares for the upcoming season, head coach Tate Criswell emphasized cohesiveness as being the biggest area for the Panthers this spring.

He’s also excited about the experience level on his team this year.

“First of all, cohesiveness and work ethic and experience will be crucial,” Criswell said. “We’ll be pretty athletic and powerful.

“Our pitchers are going to be able to throw well. But the main ingredient is cohesiveness as well.”

The Panthers get the season underway Thursday as they look to improve off last year’s fifth-place finish in the District 2-6A standings.

“The excitement level before any season is going to be high,” Criswell said. “But this season, more than any other season, because of the expectations and the work that we’ve invested, it’s at an all-time high.”

The Panthers return a couple of players who earned all-district honors last year.

Among those coming back will be Taylor Sullivan who was the district’s 2019 Defensive MVP last year, as well as Aleck Villa, who made first team all-district as designated hitter last year.

Brian Ramos is another returning player for the Panthers.

“We feel pretty good,” Ramos said. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort in and we’re just ready.”

For the players, the joy of getting to finally play an actual season game has been almost too much.

“It’s a great time,” Jared Carrasco said. “We get to start doing what we enjoy and play some baseball. We’ve been waiting all offseason for this.”

Permian will begin play in the San Marcos Tournament on Thursday against the host team, before facing Victoria East later that same day.

On Friday, the Panthers will face San Antonio Warren and Buda Hays.

They’ll end the tournament with a doubleheader against Kerrville Tivy and San Marcos, again, on Saturdya.

Criswell likes what he’s seen from his team’s practices so far.

“It’s felt really good to get practices underway although we have been practicing during the fall and all winter so it’s just an opportunity for us to play against another team instead of just ourselves and to have two or three hour practices instead of just one hour,” he said.

While the team is looking to improve on last year’s finish, the players believe they have a lot of positive energy going into the new season.

“It feels good to get the season underway,” Caden Bedrick said. “We have a great group of guys. Any of our guys can play college ball anywhere.”

But if Permian is to crack the top four standings in district and make the playoffs this year, it will have to fight through a gauntlet of competitive teams.

“Every team in our district is going to be tough,” Criswell said. “They’ll beat us if we’re bad. But on the flip side is that we’ll be able to compete against everybody in our district and if we play well and do what we need to do, we’ll be fine.

“A lot of teams in our district have great traditions. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. We like to have a competitive district.”

The players believe that they have what it takes to finish first in the district standings.

“We want to win a district title,” Jared Carrasco said. “That’s the top of our list. We also want to be playing (at state) in Round Rock. We believe that we have the talent to get there in the playoffs this year.”

As far as which area the team can improve on, the list in that category is endless, according to Criswell.

“We need to work well in every area,” Criswell said. “I think we need to work in every area each and every day.”

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