The Weatherford Kangaroos have proven a model of consistency over the last decade-plus, reaching the postseason for 12-straight years, most recently finishing as a Class 6A bi-district finalist in 2019.
For Weatherford’s returning players, keeping that streak alive is a major goal heading into the team’s new campaign, senior Jake Munnell said.
“I think that’s the goal every year,” Munnell said.
“As a teammate, I want to do everything I can to ensure what we’ve done in the past doesn’t get jeopardized. It’s my goal to help us get there.
“I think we have the ability to go to the playoffs and go through a couple teams.”
It is a sentiment shared by many of the Kangaroos, including fellow senior Brendon Lopez.
“[Extending the streak] is always a goal at the beginning of the season,” Lopez said.
“That would be an honor. It would be disappointing if our class didn’t do it.”
Weatherford will rely in part on a large junior class of returners from 2019, a group Head Coach Jason Lee said the program is expecting big things from.
“We have four juniors this year that all started for us last year as sophomores, and I expect them to step up,” Lee said.
“Guys like Landon Ellington, Luke Bagwell, Bruce Collingsworth and Dawson Nelson. I expect them all to play well and have great years for us. Those four guys would be the guys coming back, along with senior Jake Seglem, who’s our other returning starter from first base. Those five guys are really the ones we expect to come out and do big things for us.”
Lee added that he expects the abovementioned group to also fill crucial leadership roles within the team this season.
“Our lead by example guy would be Luke Bagwell,” Lee said.
“He doesn’t say much, but he does what he’s supposed to. I see a couple seniors stepping up in Jake Munnell and Jake Seglem being more vocal leaders and pushing us, along with Landon Ellington.”
The Roos will also feature a healthy mix of standouts from last year’s JV squad, as well as a number of other returning lettermen, Lee said.
“We have some other guys who should step in and do well. Hudson Stark pitched really well on JV last year, he’s a junior and I expect him to step in and do a good job for us. We have Brendon Lopez, Aaron Hayes and Jake Munnell who will be seniors this year who have a chance to do really well for us on the mound and hopefully at the plate as well.
“We also have three sophomores out there that are looking pretty good, Dayton Tockey as an outfielder, first baseman, pitcher type, Trace Holcomb is a catcher that swings the bat pretty well. And then we have Jake Williams who has gone through an injury but had an excellent fall and played really well out in left field. We’re hoping that he is back healthy soon and plays like he did in the fall.”
Lopez for one echoed his coach’s comments, saying that Weatherford’s large number of young playmakers can absolutely help the team accomplish its goals.
“I feel like with all the young guys coming back, we have a good chance to make it far in the playoffs and make a good run,” Lopez said.
Seglem echoed his teammate’s comments.
“I feel like we can win a lot of games this year,” Seglem said.
“We have a really good chance of making playoffs again, and I think it’s gonna be a quality season.”
That group will be responsible in part for continuing the Roos’ streak of postseason appearances, a goal the squad can prepare for in a tough non-district slate, as well as against ever-stout competition in District 3-6A, Lee said.
“The first tournament is our own, the Southwest Ford Tournament. We’ll play six games against good competition including Saginaw, Keller Timber Creek, Nacogdoches, Amarillo Caprock, Midland Christian and we finish up with Cedar Hill.
“Then the next week we go to the Midland Tournament, which is always a great one for us to go to. It gives us a chance to go out west where we might have to go in the playoffs, being in districts one through four. We get to see some teams from the El Paso Midland, Odessa areas, all those types of teams we might face in the second round of the playoffs. I think it’s also great for our camaraderie. We’re playing Odessa Permian, Amarillo Tascosa, El Paso Montwood and El Paso Americas.
“And then the third week we’ll be playing in the Drew Medford Memorial Tournament where we’ll be playing Duncanville, Fossil Ridge, Mansfield Timberview, Mansfield Summit, and then we play Trinity Valley going into district.
“So we have quite a bit of baseball there in three weeks to prepare us and allow us to see what lineup we might need to have and who’s gonna perform going into that first week of district.”
With a large number of teams in the district returning a healthy number of starters and lettermen, Lee said District 3-6A’s competition will prove a battle every Tuesday and Friday.
“Richland has almost everybody back, they have their top two pitchers returning,” Lee said.
“They should be a very solid team. L.D. Bell and Euless Trinity tied for the district championship last year, they’re always solid teams and they have some guys back and should be very competitive. Abilene is always a tough team to play, they lost their top pitcher last year, but they’re just one of those teams who are really tough to play, they’re scrappy and feel like they should win every game. And then SAC always has a good program. They lost eight out of nine starters, so they graduated a lot, but their JV was very competitive last year, so I expect them to be competitive. And then Haltom, they only won one game last year in district, but they beat Trinity who ended up winning district, so anybody can beat you at any time. It’s competitive from top to bottom.”
With the team’s schedule set and new home ready to go, all that is left for Weatherford to do is take the field in regular season action and start working toward the group’s stated goals.
With that moment quickly approaching, Lee said it is an exciting time in Roo baseball history.
“I’m always excited for the start of baseball,” Lee said.
“This year is special with the new field and it’s a brand new chapter right now. I know people are excited to come play over here. It just makes it that much more exciting for us to get going.”