Bears edge Horns, Coach ‘Griff’ honored before game

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

LITTLE CYPRESS — In a night celebrating their long-time coach’s tremendous career, the LC-M Bears snagged a 2-1 victory over the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns in District 22-4A play at Gibbens Field.

Lain Harvey drove in the winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh to help nab down the win for the Bears (17-5, 4-1) , who are in a tie for first-place with both Bridge City and Hardin-Jefferson.

Max Dileo got the win on the mound in relief for the Bears as he shut down the Longhorn bats.

Hunter Perkins got the Bears going with a leadoff double to start the bottom of the seventh. Dileo then reached on a bunt as Perkins was safe at third by beating the throw. That’s when Harvey was able to put the ball in play as the Bears scooted in with the winning run.

Prior to Tuesday night’s game, there was a short presentation to honor Coach Steve Griffith for reaching the 600 career win milestone. Last week with a 5-3 win over the Bridge City Cardinals at Don Gibbens field, Coach Griffith and Hunter Hagler’s 2019 Bears recorded his 600th career victory, all of which were won right here while coaching at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in the last 25 and a half seasons.

Griff played for the late Coach Vince Buffamonte, whose first district champion team was a first for any boys sport in 1982 and 1983. He refers to his coach as the Founding Father of LCM Baseball ‘s winning tradition. Coach Buffs daughter Buffy and her husband Bill travelled from Omaha Nebraska to be there for the occasion which Coach Griff acknowledges would not be taking place without the positive influence in his life by Coach Buff.

Coach Griff came to LCM in 1994 from Hooks Texas, where as an assistant he helped lead that team to the 3A state championship game in 1993.

In his first baseball season as LCM head coach, he took a group of mainly 9th and 10th graders and began a mission to build a winning baseball program. That original group of young players led LCM Baseball the 1996 State Championship Game and the 1997 4A Region III Finals to revitalize the winning tradition started a decade earlier.

In his tenure as LCM Head Coach, Griff has led the Bears to the post season 20 times. 19 of those 20 teams won the first round to become bi district champions and would advance to the Area round, 11 teams reached the regional quarterfinal round, 7 of those reached the regional semifinal round, all 7 of those won and advanced to the region 4A Region III championship game, one team advanced to the state tournament and won the state semi-final game, landing that great team in the state championship game.

To this point in this 26th season as head coach, he has amassed a career record of 601-250.   That number of wins places him 1st among active 4A coaches in Texas and 14th among all active coaches. Coach leads southeast Texas coaching stats in many categories. First in wins. First in winning percentage at .705

Griffith has said many times that the important win total to him are playoff victories. Since becoming the head coach, his teams have compiled a 67-38 record in the playoffs ranking him first in post season wins and first in playoff winning percentage at .638. These successes have resulted in over half of his graduating seniors, totaling over 100 players and managers, that have signed college baseball letters of intent, and six Bears have been chosen in the major league baseball draft.

Coach Griff thanked the LCMCISD Administration for their continuous support. He also thanked all of his many assistant coaches along the way. Special thanks goes to his long time assistants of 15 years Wayne Stephenson and John Martin, and his current young varsity assistant and future 600-game winner, Hunter Hagler. Coach Griff says that it won’t be long until Coach Hagler will be commonly referred to as one of the top high school baseball coaches in the entire State Texas.

He would also like us to thank all of his former managers and all of the approximately 200 players that put in countless of hours of hard work and dedication toward being the best possible players they could be. Some of those guys live close enough to be here on this week night and some could not make the trip. Several of them are tied up tonight coaching their own high school baseball games around the State of Texas as we speak. Last but not least he thanked his amazing wife Lana, his three kids, Morgan, Sydney, and Gage, and his Parents John and Gail Griffith for their support.

Superintendent Stacey Brister, Athletic Director Randy Crouch and LCM HS Principal, Ryan DuBose presented Coach Griff with a plaque to celebrate this milestone event.