COLUMNS

The old college try

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Florida International starter and former St. Amant Gator Adam Sevario. Photo courtesy of FIUSports.com.

As the 2017 baseball and softball seasons heat up in Ascension, parish athletes continue to thrive in the hopes of bringing their teams district and state titles.

Some are also preparing themselves for a future in college athletics.

There are many players throughout Ascension that have signed with college programs, others that have made verbal commitments.

St. Amant’s Blayne Enlow (LSU), Ivan Prejean (Nicholls State) and McKenzie King (LSU-Eunice) have all signed, along with Ascension Catholic’s Nick Bellina and Landon Clifton (both LSU-Eunice).

Dutchtown’s Blayne Pence has signed with Baton Rouge Community College.

Dutchtown’s Cameron Crawford is committed to Nicholls State, and St. Amant’s Taylor Tidwell is committed to LSU.

All of those players have bright futures in college baseball and softball ahead of them, but there are many other Ascension products that are already doing big things at the next level.

So far in 2017, East Ascension alum Bailey Landry has been representing the parish tremendously.

The senior has helped LSU run out to a 23-7 record.

She has been head and shoulders above all other Lady Tiger hitters as she leads the team with a superb .529 batting average with 23 RBIs. She also leads the team with a .545 on-base percentage.

Landry has already earned multiple honors this year. She was named SEC and NFCA Player of the Week and LSWA Player of the Month (February).

Another East Ascension alum in freshman Claire Weinberger has also seen playing time at LSU this season. Weinberger has played in 17 games and started four.

Another Division-I softball program that has two former Ascension softball stars contributing is UL-Lafayette.

Former Dutchtown standout Aleah Craighton is a three-year starter for the Cajuns, and in the team’s 17-5 start to the season, she is having another stellar season.

Craighton is hitting .316 with four home runs and 16 RBIs.

Her teammate is former Lady Gator great Kara Gremillion. Gremillion is a former Gatorade Louisiana Softball Player of the Year. Her jersey has been retired by St. Amant.

Gremillion became a regular starter for UL-Lafayette in the latter stages of her freshman year. As a sophomore, she has started every game and is hitting .294 with four homers and 13 RBIs.

Another parish star that has been impressive at the collegiate level in 2017 is St. Amant alum Adam Sevario.

Sevario was the Parish MVP last year as a senior for the Gators, and now, as a true freshman at Florida International, Sevario has started 15 of the Panthers’ 18 games.

He has the third-best batting average on the team at .375, and he leads Florida International in on-base percentage at .474.

In a win against Charleston Southern, Sevario went 4-4 with three RBIs.

Former East Ascension All-State softball star Jessie Watts started for the Lady Spartans as a freshman, and now, she’s starting as a freshman for UL-Monroe.

Watts has started 20 games this season and has hit .241 with two home runs and eight RBIs.

For Southeastern, two former parish softball stars have been starting.

St. Amant alum Maddie Edmonston has started 24 games this season, while former Dutchtown All-State pitcher Ali McCoy has started 21 contests as a true freshman. She’s hitting .255.

There is another pair of Ascension softball stalwarts playing at LSU-Eunice.

Dutchtown alum Hope Vezinat and Ascension Catholic All-State star Rea’Shaun Melancon have helped power the Lady Bengals to a 32-8 record.

As a true freshman, Melancon is hitting .374 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs. The 10 homers ranks her second on the team.

Finally, in baseball, former Dutchtown all-district and All-Parish player Caleb Ricca has started 13 games as a true freshman at Northwestern State.

This is a shining example of just how talent-rich Ascension Parish really is.

It will be fun to see how these players—many of whom are just freshmen and sophomores—continue to develop and improve throughout their collegiate careers.

It will also be fun to see all of the current Ascension high-school stars perform once they reach the next level.