PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - To hear Bozeman baseball head coach Jeff Patton talk about players, you'd think he's talking about his own children.
Seniors Miguel Mendez, Barrett Johnston, Charlie Red, Tyler Lee, and Brock Langlotz celebrate en route to a Final Four in 2019.
"I love my boys," Patton said. "They love me. They give me their heart and soul."
In a way, he is talking about his kids.
"It's all a big family," Barrett Johnston agreed.
And the seniors:
"We're about as close to brothers as you can get," Brock Langlotz added.
The Bucks are defending state semifinalists, but COVID-19 put 2020 milestones like the playoffs on hold.
"Shoot, it's all I thought about since the start of the season, even before that," Langlotz said.
"Our playoff streak, it's been 13 years," Patton explained. "We were looking for 14."
Signing Day is on hold too
Johnston is committed to Gulf Coast in Panama City. Langlotz is committed to to Eastern, an NCAA D-III program in Pennslyvania. Tyler Lee to D-III Covenant in Georgia, while Charlie Red is set to depart for Connecticut to play for the United States Coast Guard Academy.
They're waiting to sign now because of the pandemic, but they waited before that too.
"We just wanted to do it all together so no one's left out," Johnston said.
Red was the last of the four friends to commit.
"It was awesome," Red said of their decision. "These guys have always been by my side the last few years."
"I guess it just goes back to the brotherhood thing," Tyler Lee reflected. "Why not share it together?"
They've shared plenty on the field. The Bucks followed up last season's success with a 10-0 start, earning MaxPreps' No.1 ranking statewide in 1A. Together, they've shared far more off the field.
"Me and Charlie Redd, we were on a travel ball team from when we were 10 to 12," Johnston recalled.
"I've known Barrett since he was a little guy," the coach added. "I went and saw Brock when he was in the hospital."
The families have explored a virtual signing, but they insist even that will be done together. Even though this season is over, they won't let each other go.
"To be there with the guys, these are things you'll look back on," Lee said. "You'll never forget them and never regret anything that you did."
Or didn't do.
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