(Editor’s Note: this week’s stories are part of a series focusing on athletics and academics during their current suspension due to COVID-19.)
By Joshua Bray
The Slaton Tigers Baseball team has an overall record of 6-6, including tournament and regular season games. The Tigers have been unable to play since the UIL suspension of games in late March.
The team’s coach, Dilon Chancellor, says the break has given him and the team time to reflect and identify specific areas that need work.
“We learned that we are going to have to show up and make the routine plays and battle one-nine in the lineup to give us a chance,” Chancellor said. “That’s the great thing about this game; it gives you many different situations during a game and exposes weakness.
“With that being said, it gives you the opportunity to implement those weaknesses in a practice plan to allow you to be more prepared when those situations arise in future games. Overall, we learned a lot about who we are as a team. I feel like we have the guys to go toe to toe with anybody.”
Chancellor said that the Tigers can beat any team as long as they do little things correctly.
“The wins will come if you continue to do the little things right and respect the game every day, you show up at the yard,” Chancellor said. “That is something we overemphasized everyday to the kids, respect the game and it can pay you back in many ways, which one of those being wins!”
Chancellor said the team had their best game against River Road in the Shallowater Tournament.
“We were down three runs going into the bottom of the seventh and the guys never let the situation get too big and we walked them off in the bottom of the seventh,” Chancellor said. “That’s what it’s about, a bunch of guys willing to sacrifice themselves for their teammates. That game just sticks out to me because all talent aside, it was a dog fight and we found a way to win in the end. We got punched in the mouth and we found a way to respond when you have a team full of guys that have that mentality, you have potential to do really special things!”
Chancellor said that the team’s four seniors all bring something special to the team that made the River Road win and many others possible.
“Those guys are what hold this team together, they are great leaders and naturally underclassman will follow seniors, so it’s been great,” Chancellor said.
“As baseball players they have all developed in different areas that contribute to giving us a chance to win every time we go out and play. All four of these seniors are going to be great fathers, husbands and spiritual leaders one day and will accomplish big things. They will always be welcome back to any Slaton Baseball function!”
Chancellor highlighted Slaton High School senior Ivan Ramirez.
“It’s his first year playing for the Tigers,” Chancellor said. “He is a stand out guy. He brings it every single day. He shows up with a great attitude and fulfills his role in whatever that may be. He brings life to this program. He keeps us all on our toes everyday to make sure we don’t fall short of what we want to accomplish.”
Chancellor said he and the team look forward to getting a chance to play again, and look to make the most of it, keeping their sights on playoffs.
“We just want the opportunity to play. We don’t care how many games or who; we just want an opportunity to play! They have extended no contest until May 4. We will follow the rules and take the precautions that are asked of us. When the time comes, we will be ready to go!” Chancellor said.
“These seniors deserve a chance, so we are going to continue to pray that God’s plan is in favor of our health and the rest of this baseball season!”