VAN ALSTYNE — Junior Rhett Gallagher has been a standout on the football field and baseball diamond for the Panthers since last year and he shows no signs of stopping.

As the quarterback for the football team and ace pitcher for the baseball team, the sky’s the limit for Gallagher as he looks towards his senior year and future. With several choices, Gallagher has an idea of where he sees himself.

“I’d love to play baseball,” he said.

In his sophomore year, Gallagher put up impressive numbers on the diamond including finishing the year hitting better than .300. Most impressively, Gallagher wrapped up the year with a 0.78 earned run average and was 6-3 with 76 strikeouts on the mound. Gallagher — who threw two-hitters and was the District 10-3A Pitcher of the Year — hopes to sharpen those skills and take them to the next level.

“I’ve just always loved baseball,” he said. “It’s just something I’ve worked at and gotten better and I’ve always had a great time with it. I’d play wherever, any college that will have me I’m all in. I just want to play… also I would like to get a degree in business maybe.”

Gallagher has been playing baseball as long as he can remember.

“I swear my first memory could be of me swinging a bat,” he said. “I remember playing on my first baseball team when I was only five years old. I can just remember falling in love with the grind of going out there almost everyday practicing and almost every weekend playing, and knew there’s nothing better. I’ve also played almost every summer. It doesn’t feel like a job; it feels like I’m meant to be doing it, you know?”

Despite the anticipation for the future, Gallagher still has a whole senior year left. He hasn’t forgotten this fact and has plans for both teams and himself.

“I hope to be district champs in both sports and go as deep as we can in the playoffs,” he said. “You know, honestly, I don’t really have any big plans for myself. I’m just trying to win ball games.”

Gallagher also expressed gratitude towards the foundation he feels the Van Alstyne coaching staff has given him to get to the next level.

“They have really taught me what its like to work hard,” he said of his coaches. “They have pushed me past what I thought my limits were and opened up new doors and helped build me up mentally and physically.”

It’s clear with his love of the game and dedication to improving, Gallagher will continue playing ball in the years to come.

Bryce Brakebill is an independent correspondent who regularly contributes to the Van Alstyne Leader sports section.