When the elite of the elite converge on Tyler this summer for the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Heart of A Champion baseball all-star game, an elite coach will be in charge.
Kilgore High School’s Eugene Lafitte, who has guided the Bulldogs to the state tournament and a round shy of the state tournament in the last two seasons, has agreed to be the head coach for the Red all-stars that day — June 5 — and he’ll be joined by Central Heights’ Travis Jackson, formerly the coach at Overton.
Kilgore’s Diamond ‘Dogs have had three straight excellent seasons, and Lafitte has been at the helm the last two: in 2018, when the Bulldogs were beaten by eventual 4A state champion Argyle one round before the state tournament, and then last summer, when Kilgore reached the University Interscholastic League’s Class 4A state tournament in Austin, but lost in the semifinals to Sweeny.
Lafitte is 60-14 as Kilgore’s head coach the last two seasons.
Of course, baseball is only one of the four sports that the FCA Heart of A Champion features each year. Football was first, and then softball was added. Baseball was added a couple of seasons ago, and this year, soccer is added.
All four all-star games are played the same weekend; the baseball and softball games will be played at the facilities at the University of Texas at Tyler on June 5. Soccer, new to the lineup this year, will be played at Grace Community that day, as well, with a boys all-star game and a girls all-star game.
The football all-star game at Rose Stadium on June 6.
All of the Heart of A Champion games feature seniors from throughout East Texas — the games are hosted by the Northeast Texas FCA, and this is their 10th year to do so.
Athletes that will participate in the games will be announced at a later date.