The Stamford high school baseball team is on a mission to advance into the state tournament for the fourth year in a row.
Seniors Hagen Hutchinson, Mario Gonzalez, and junior Gus West have helped the Bulldogs make their way into the regional semifinals along with the help of their younger brothers Wes (Hutchinson), Ligon (West), and Michael (Gonzalez).
The 2013 season has become a complete family affair.
“It’s like a big family pretty much," says Hagen Hutchinson. "We're around everyone all the time, and always spending time off the field together all the time."
"Everything we do we do together," says Gus West, "If were not at their house then their at our house. It just constantly stays like that.”
For the younger brothers, the pressure of making another state tournament is something they've enjoyed throughout the season.
“Watching them play (last year) I was nervous and I wasn’t even out there," says freshmen Wes Hutchinson. "Hopefully we can get back there and can do better then we did last year.”
“Hopefully we make it back and actually get to play perform on the field and not have to sit up in the stands and watch it’d be real cool,” says freshmen Ligon West.
Stamford will face Ira for a three game series in the 1A region one semifinals. Game one is Thursday 6 p.m. Game two: Saturday at 1 p.m. Game three will follow if necessary.
Twenty six miles down Winters freeway, Hawley softball features twin sisters Megan and Amanda Verette who have helped the Lady Cats advance to their first regional final since 2009.
The two seniors have had a long journey to the school's first regional final in four seasons. Three years ago, Amanda (who is older then Megan by forty seconds) tore her ACL in her knee which forced her to sit her entire sophomore season in softball.
The thought of Amanda watching from the sideline during Hawley's regional semifinal appearance still pains her younger sister.
“I missed her that year," says Megan who plays third base. "It was kind of a bittersweet experience cause I didn’t get to experience it with her.”
“It was devastating not playing my sophomore year," says Amanda who plays first base.
The elder Verette served as team manager while she sat out her sophomore season.
"Watching them play really did help, because I still came out there with them," adds Amanda. "It was just hard not being able to do anything myself. This season it's really been a blast. Honestly, just getting to this point and having the opportunity to get to this point while I'm still in high school. It's been really fun with this team.”
Hawley will face district foe Comanche in the region one finals for a spot in the state tournament. Game one Friday, 6 p.m. Game two Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. All games will be played in Eastland.