Patterson tradition continues this weekend
Ascension Parish has gained a reputation for being a baseball parish over the years.
One of its best-known traditions continues this weekend with the Jay Patterson Shootout at both East Ascension and St. Amant.
The 13th annual tournament features eight teams – East Ascension, St. Amant, Dutchtown, Rummel, Jesuit, Destrehan, Brother Martin and Shaw. Seven made the postseason in 2008 with Jesuit and Shaw capturing the runner up in Class 5A and 4A and Dutchtown making the quarterfinals in 4A.
The tournament is named in honor of Jay Patterson, the chairman of the Gonzales Recreation Commission for 10 years who began organizing the tournament before dying in September of 1996. Then-East Ascension head baseball coach Randy Watts, along with David Wilcox, Gonzales Mayor Johnny Berthelot and other community leaders and businessmen started the tournament the following spring.
“It was originally how I started it,” Watt said. “We were trying to get the local area versus New Orleans area schools. I think it has to do with the commraderie between the two areas and the relationship that we established with these teams way back when. They loved our facilities and I think they enjoyed the atmosphere in which we provided which includes plenty of good food but don’t sell short the quality of baseball. It is always some of the best in the state and it still is but I think, you have to enjoy each other in order for it to stay legit like it has.”
Patterson’s son, Gregg Patterson, who pitched for East Ascension and LSU in the 1980s, continues to follow his his father’s legacy.
“It means a lot,” Patterson said. “My dad did a lot for baseball here before it was really important and it is just a privilage for me to continue that tradition. My dad never told me anything about my performance but he never missed a practice or game and years later everybody on our team realized he was there for all the kids. He was there for East Ascension because he supported the high school even before I was born.”
The tournament started Thursday with a pair of games at East Ascension and St. Amant. There will be a pair of games at both East Ascension and St. Amant Friday and four games at each park Saturday.
“You got eight good teams playing 16 games of great baseball,” East Ascension head coach Wayne Grenfell said. “Every team gets a little bit better when they leave because of the competition we play. Baseball speaks for itself with the three parish schools here. All the kids grew up loving to play the game. That is what Jay Patterson made this thing for.”
12th annual Jay Patterson Shootout
at East Ascension
Dutchtown vs. Shaw, 4 p.m.
East Ascension vs. Rummel, 7 p.m.
at St. Amant
Destrehan vs. Brother Martin, 4 p.m.
St. Amant vs. Jesuit, 7 p.m.
at East Ascension
East Ascension vs. Brother Martin, 10 a.m.
Destrehan vs. Rummel, 1 p.m.
Destrehan vs.?Shaw, 4 p.m.
East Ascension vs. Jesuit, 7 p.m.
at St. Amant
St. Amant vs. Shaw, 10 a.m.
Dutchtown vs. Jesuit, 1 p.m.
Dutchtown vs. Brother Martin, 4 p.m.
St. Amant vs. Rummel, 7 p.m.