ABBOTT, TX (FOX 44) — Following a trip to the 1A State Semifinals just last season, the Abbott Panthers always had one mission in 2023, to return to Round Rock once again.

Now, following a 2-1 series win over Dodd City in the Regional Final, Kyle Crawford’s team has reached that first goal.

After bowing out in that round in 2022 though, this experienced Panther team has higher hopes than just getting back to the state tournament.

“We want them to cherish that and enjoy it, but at the same time you could see a different focus and different desire,” Crawford said. “They’ve been there so now they wanna take the next step and add their name to the 2017 group that went down there on a mission to win it.”

“You’re more focused on playing baseball than soaking up the moment,” said senior catcher/pitcher Will Kazda. “You’ve been there, now it’s time to go down there and truly be on a mission.”

This is also a group of Abbott student athletes that is no stranger to the big stage, after making it to a regional final in basketball, and to AT&T Stadium for a state championship game in football.

“We’ve been in the big moment time and time again,” senior first baseman/pitcher Preston Pustejovsky. “Now we’re not just going to be happy to be there, we’re going to try and win it all.”

That path to a championship for the Panthers will start at Del Diamond on Wednesday, June 7th at 9:00 am with their state semifinal matchup against Kennard.