Mr. Speaker, the Kingwood Park Panthers are heading to the Texas UIL State 5A Baseball Championship for the first time in program history. It was a resounding game 3 win over Tomball Memorial this past weekend in College Station that sealed the Region III Championship.

They will head to Dell Diamond Stadium in Round Rock, Texas to face off the V.R. Eaton Eagles this Thursday. Coach Bruce Cox came to Kingwood Park 5 years ago talking about playing at the Dell Diamond. 

He has had faith in his community since day one and has pushed the team to play like every game is a championship game. Coach Cox started out this season by intentionally scheduling five games against 6A schools ranked in the top 25 in the state. 12 of the 15 out-of-district games were against 6A teams.

Coach Cox knew that the Panthers would quickly learn to handle the competition, and it certainly paid off. The Panthers have played this entire season with heart, grit, and respect for the game. 

Kingwood Park senior Bryson Jackson has signed to play both football and baseball for Texas Christian University. Jackson had the chance to enroll early and start practicing with the football team in Fort Worth, but instead decided to stay to help the Panthers make history.

It was Bryson Jackson that hit a three- run home run against Tomball Memorial that clinched the team’s trip to State. It’s been a tough season for the Panthers with many tough opponents.  

One of the tougher games was against Santa Fe High School; just over 24 hours after 10 lives were lost at Santa Fe High School. The Kingwood Park Panthers stepped off the bus wearing ‘‘Santa Fe Strong’’ warm-up shirts. After the game, the Panthers presented the shirts to the Santa Fe players after every player hugged the entire team.

It was an emotional game that meant so much more than baseball. One of the Panthers, Jason Rendon, said ‘‘We played the strongest team in Texas, and now we play for them.’’ No matter what the outcome of this weekend might be, these boys have shown true class and have represented the Kingwood community well.

So this weekend, head to the Dell Diamond and support the Kingwood Park Panthers as they fight for the State Championship title.

And that’s just the way it is.