The sports of football, basketball and volleyball are revered in the city of Waxahachie, but maybe none is held in higher regard than the game of baseball.
The legacy of Waxahachie High School Indians baseball goes back to the early 20th century, times before the country was locked in the Great Depression and two World Wars.
WHS, in coordination with the RBI Club, the team’s booster club, unveiled the new additions to the history of Richards Park and honored a senior class that will carry the school’s colors into battle this season during the 12th annual First-Pitch Banquet on Thursday at the Waxahachie Civic Center.
“We really want to preserve the legacy of those who went before us,” senior Sam Bosher said. “My brother played here a couple years ago and it’s been an honor to play for a team with such a winning tradition.”
The competitive fire of one or more of the Indians’ leaders may have been stoked by the words of Dan Heefener, Dallas Baptist University’s current head baseball coach and the event’s guest speaker.
Heefner knows what winners and leaders look like. During eight seasons coaching Dallas Baptist University, he has compiled a 302-168 overall record for a .643 winning percentage, collected five NCAA appearances and a trip to the super regional in 2011.
The Patriots earned a No. 1 seed for the first time in 2015, finishing 46-15.
Heefner said the culture of Indians baseball, which brought him former All-American Boomer Collins and current All-American David Martinelli, fields skilled, coachable players that transition well into successful collegiate systems.
“There’s an expectation to be successful in this program,” Heefner said. “The two guys we’ve had were and are outstanding players and teammates, That’s not something that comes naturally, it’s something that’s been nurtured on a daily basis by the coaching staff and the community. If you look at David, you see it. You’re not going to be an All-American as a freshman if you don’t have a solid foundation.”
Heefner said his mission and message to the players was to enjoy the process of playing the game and being a good teammate.
His message, one of perseverance and constant growth, is much like the message Tracy Wood, the Indians head baseball coach, preaches to his players daily.
Wood, who will enter his ninth season as a WHS manager, said the support of the booster club and parents and the work ethic of the sons of Waxahachie are what keeps their rich history alive and kicking.
“When I sat down to think about what to say during the banquet, the words ‘second to none’ kept coming to mind,” he said. “It wasn’t by design, it just kept popping into my head. Whether it be our booster club, our parents, our field or the commitment of our kids, I believe we’ve got a really good deal here.
He said the support of the community has led his team to strive for excellence year in and year out and because of that, the expectations of Indians players will be big every season.
“We want to get better as individuals every day, be solid citizens, good students and we want to win a state championship,” Wood said. “That’s our goal. We played in the state championship during my first year in 2008, but we haven’t won one yet. When we do, we’ll raise the bar and say we haven’t won one the next year either.”