Coming off a banner season that ended just shy of the state tournament, the Lufkin Panthers’ baseball team is ready to get back to work as the 2017 season opens this weekend.
Lufkin will get an early season test as it hits the Houston area to compete in the Spring Branch ISD Tournament starting on Thursday. Lufkin is one of nine teams competing in the tournament, which takes place at four fields over the next three days.
The Panthers will get an early gauge on their depth as they will play six games in a three-day span.
Lufkin opens the tournament on Thursday with a noon game against Stratford High School. That game will take place at Stratford High School. The Panthers will then go to Northbrook High School where it will take on Waltrip at 5 p.m.
The Panthers resume the tournament with two games on Friday. Lufkin’s first game on Friday will be against Spring Woods at noon. That game will be played at Spring Woods High School.
The Panthers then go to Northbrook High School for a 5 p.m. game against St. John’s.
Lufkin finishes the tournament with a pair of games on Saturday. The Panthers open the day at Memorial High School where they will take on George Ranch at 10 a.m.
Lufkin will finish the weekend at Northbrook High School where it will take on Klein Collins at 3 p.m.
Teams competing in the tournament are Lufkin, Memorial, Klein Collins, Southlake Carroll, Stratford, Elkins, Cy-Fair, George Ranch, Spring Woods, Waltrip, Corpus Christi Carroll, Cy-Ranch, Northbrook, Seguin, Highland Park and St. John’s.
Following this weekend’s action, the Panthers will return home for a pair of games on March 3 as they take on Houston Northside at 2 p.m. and Atlanta at 6:30 p.m.
That will be followed the following weekend with the Pete Runnels Tournament.
Lufkin is coming off a regional final berth last season in which it finished just one win shy of the state tournament. The Panthers are returning to the state’s highest classification this season while competing in 12-6A, which features perennial state powerhouse The Woodlands.