Falling behind and facing a bases-loaded jam with no outs, East Ascension decided to cut the day short for ace Austin Millet, and instead, looked to an inexperienced sophomore named Austin McInnis to stop the bleeding.

Falling behind and facing a bases-loaded jam with no outs, East Ascension decided to cut the day short for ace Austin Millet, and instead, looked to an inexperienced sophomore named Austin McInnis to stop the bleeding.

McInnis was nervous. He went into the game never expecting to take the mound.

Despite the anxiety, the youngster pushed through and quickly showed what kind of potential he possessed. He struck out 10 Acadiana batters, gave up just one hit and never let the Rams score again.

That performance didn’t just impress his coaches at East Ascension.

“We got on the bus and headed back for Gonzales, and I got a call from a coach named Elliot Jones. I had no idea who he was,” McInnis said. “He told me that he was with Southern University. He really liked what he saw out of me, and he told me he was going to come back and watch some more.”

McInnis’ play that day and the phone call that followed all led to him proudly signing his letters of intent last Tuesday evening.

“Over the years, I continued to talk to [Southern], and I built a good relationship with them,” McInnis said. “Over the last few weeks, I talked to my family, and when I thought about Southern, I just knew that, that was the place where I felt most comfortable going."

Second-year Spartan head coach Britt Waguespack was ecstatic to see McInnis rewarded with a scholarship.

"It's a great day for East Ascension High School, but it's a terrific day for Austin McInnis,” Waguespack said. “I coached Austin for four years--two as an assistant and two as a head coach. This is well-deserved. Austin was the type of player that did anything and everything he was asked to do for his coaches and his teammates.”

McInnis has been one of the Spartans’ top pitchers for the past three years.

With guys like Tristan Babin, Cole Holley and Hayden Adams all graduating, he was expected to pick up the slack from the mound. He did just that—establishing himself as East Ascension’s ace in 2016.

He was a first-team all-district selection, and he recently played in the LHSCA/LBCA all-star game.

Coach Waguespack said that McInnis’ leadership skills are among his top traits as a player.

“One thing I always appreciated from Austin was the way he handled underclassmen, the way he handled young kids in our program and the way he handled the baseball camps that he helped us work,” Waguespack said. “He was always there for the kids that needed help. He always took the extra time to help them, and I thought that was a tremendous asset.

“He is a great human being, and he has the honor to play baseball at Southern. It's well-deserved and well-earned."

Being a great teammate has always come first for McInnis.

"I think I'm a good leader. I think that any team I've ever been on, I've been someone my teammates can look up to,” McInnis said. “This year, I was introduced to a bunch of new freshmen. I immediately tried to take them under my wing and teach them how to do different things."

Now, he’ll have a whole new set of teammates waiting for him at Southern as he plays for Southern Hall of Fame head coach Roger Cador. In his 32 years of coaching the Jags, he has won more than 850 games and earned SWAC Coach of the Year honors 14 times.

"I can't begin to explain how excited I am. It's been a long process,” McInnis said. “I didn't know where I was going to go, but with prayer, family, my close friends and coaches, it turned out to be a really easy decision. I'm excited to get better and work together with my new team."