Bells softball and baseball teams still in the hunt for a state title

After winning their first softball state championship last season, The Bells Lady Panthers are back in the same position, but this time they are the team to beat.

"We talked about the teams are going to come out to beat us this year," said Bells head softball coach Kristina Stephens. "They're going to come up ready to play and give us their best game. But at the same time, we haven't tried to focus on the state championship game last year, because this is a new team."

The roster may look a little different this year, but the work ethic and the drive to be great, is the same.

"We've been working really hard in practice, doing what we have to do," said Bells Shortstop Gabby Smith. "I think it all depends on how we show up on Friday, ready to play."

"We just have to focus," said Bells Catcher Ashley Sloan. "We have to go out there and play together and have trust in each other, and just trust that we can go out and take the win."

And right next door, the Bells baseball team is also making it's case for greatness. The Panthers went 14-0 in district, and don't plan on stopping there.

"We felt fortunate to finish 14-0 in district. There are some really good district teams in there," said Bells head baseball coach Josh Weger. "We really didn't get weeks off. We had to fight every time, which is really the way you want it because that's what helps you get better every time out."

Even with an underdog reputation, it's been the offense that has powered this team through.

"We just want to beat all odds," said Bells second baseman Stephen Hinds. "Everybody says we're the underdog and what not, so I just want to prove people wrong."

"We're used to it. We just have to play harder," said Bells Left Fielder Jacob Taylor. "Show everybody that we're not the underdog. That you shouldn't be the underdog."

"We're always the underdog. We're always the underdog," said Bells pitcher Eli Strickland. "Every team we play, it doesn't matter if we're playing a bad team or a good team. If we hit the ball we'll win. We just have to send it."

The Lady Panthers will play Bosqueville on Friday in Red Oak, and the baseball team will be in action again on Thursday against Sam Rayburn in Denison.