Former Griffin baseball star earns prestigious honors

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Dutchtown alum Jack Merrifield is the NJCAA National Defensive Player of the Year.

Jack Merrifield had a senior season at Dutchtown as sensational as it was memorable. It was hard to imagine him ever being able to top what he accomplished that year.

But he did just that.

Merrifield wrapped up what was one of the greatest individual seasons a player has ever had at LSU-Eunice, and he reaped the rewards this week.

The sophomore was not only selected to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s All-Louisiana collegiate baseball team, but he was named by the National Junior College Athletic Association as the National Defensive Player of the Year.

Merrifield began to make a name for himself during his junior season at Dutchtown. Down the stretch of that year, he became a near impossible out at the plate.

As a senior, his role changed a little bit, but he continued to excel. Merrifield was depended upon to become Dutchtown’s ace on the mound.

He accepted that challenge, and he flourished. Led by Merrifield’s arm, the Griffins made a run to the state quarterfinals.

Merrifield was named first-team All-District 5-5A and the Ascension Parish Pitcher of the Year.

But his exploits didn’t end there. That summer, he helped lead Ascension’s Gauthier & Amedee squad to the American Legion World Series. The Wombats made it all the way to the semifinals of the tournament.

That summer, Merrifield led the team in RBIs with 50. He also hit .388 and scored 43 runs.

There was little to no learning curve for Merrifield when he got to LSU-E. He was instantly successful for the Bengals.

As a freshman in 2019, he went 2-0 from the mound, and from the plate, he hit .356 with six homers and 48 RBIs.

In 2020, prior to the season being cut short due to COVID-19, Merrifield was off to a hot start, hitting .467 with 32 RBIs in just 20 games.

He saved his best for last. In 2021, Merrifield started at second base and led the team with a .396 batting average. He also led the Bengals with 58 RBIs. Merrifield added six home runs.

LSU-E went on to win its seventh NJCAA national championship. In the deciding game of the World Series, Merrifield had four hits.

He was a second-team selection on the All-Louisiana squad. Merrifield was the only Ascension Parish player to make the team in 2021.

He was named the National Defensive Player of the Year in the NJCAA after finishing with a near-perfect fielding percentage of .987. Merrifield committed just three errors in 235 chances.

He had 105 putouts and 127 assists, and he contributed to 32 double-plays.

In addition to being named the National Defensive Player of the Year, Merrifield was also named the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove winner.

LSU-E head coach Jeff Willis said this of Merrifield: “In many ways, Jack Merrifield is what you hope all of the young men that come through our program become. While Jack is certainly one of the best defenders in our program’s history, he is also at the top from an offensive, leadership and scholastic perspective.”

But the journey is not over for Merrifield. In fact, it’s just beginning.

Merrifield will be continuing his college career at LSU, after signing with the Tigers earlier this year.