For the past three years, the Panthers have endured some forgettable outcomes like most new programs but they have finally run into some early success, winning six of their first nine games.
“This year as opposed to previous years we have more experience than we’ve had,” Langston Hughes baseball coach Charles Foster said. “I got a lot of kids who are older juniors and seniors.”
“Whereas a couple of years ago, we were just getting started as a program and had to take our bumps and bruises,” Foster said. “Now that we are actually starting to win, all of the hard work in the past has kind of paid off.”
Foster joined the coaching staff as an assistant last year, when the Panthers limped their way through a 3-16 record.
“I’ve been impressed the most by our approach to the game because now that we are older and more mature. We take things a lot more serious. When we are at practice, it is a serious tone even though we are having fun,” he said.
Much of this attitude starts with the leadership of senior short stop Mike Bell, who committed to play at Georgia next year.
“He’s quiet but he is the leader of the team both on and off the field,” Foster said. “Everybody follows him because they are aware of his skills.”
Now with Bell’s bat and play at short stop leading the way, the Panthers are scheduled to play a three-game series against rival Westlake today, tomorrow at home and Friday on the road.
“They beat us every time we played since our school opened,” Foster said. “I think we are finally ready to make that step.”
Langston Hughes is 0-4 all-time against the Lions, who won 6-0 and 13-3 last season. Following this series, the Panthers will continue their rare sub-region schedule of three-game sets against East Coweta, Douglas County, Tri-Cities and Newnan, respectively.
“They love the way the schedule is set up,” Foster said. “They would rather play the games than practice. They are more hyped than I am about it.”
Langston Hughes capped its original non-region schedule with a 12-6 triumph over Banneker on Saturday. Bell finished with a home run and three RBI.
“We’re off to the best record in school history so hopefully this is a prelude to what we want to accomplish later on,” Foster said.