SPORTS

Parish’s 5A baseball teams set for competitive year

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Dutchtown ace Nathan Monceaux returns for his senior season.

The high-school baseball season has arrived, and the three District 5-5A teams in Ascension Parish are ready to compete for the league title and a high seeding come playoff time.

The district race has been tight between these three teams every year. 

Just last season, St. Amant was one victory away from winning a share of the league title, but in the Gators’ final district game, they were upset by archrival East Ascension. St. Amant had to settle for finishing in a tie with Dutchtown for league runners-up.

Of the three parish squads, Dutchtown will return the most production. The Griffins will bring back eight all-district players from a team that made a run to the state quarterfinals last season.

Reuben Williams (LSU-Eunice signee), Ethan Mayeux and AK Burrell all return in the outfield. South Carolina signee Collin Dupre will also be in the mix. Dupre is back after missing all of last season with an injury.

Infielders Will Delaune and Tanner Vadnais return, along with catcher Caleb Ickes (Centenary College signee).

From the mound, the Griffins will return ace Nathan Monceaux (Loyola University signee), who was last year’s District 5-5A MVP and the Ascension Pitcher of the Year. Dutchtown also returns all-district hurler, Nick Gisclair.

“This year's team is working really hard. We have a good group of returning players, and we have some depth at a few positions,” Dutchtown head coach Chris Schexnayder said. “Our team speed and defense should be solid this year, and we return two guys on the mound. In order to have success, we will need quality at-bats consistently, and we have to have some guys step up on the mound.”

The St. Amant Gators will return five all-district standouts.

St. Amant had a great regular season in 2021, finishing 26-7 and earning the No. 9 seeding in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Gators, they were upset by Captain Shreve in the first round.

The Gators lost some big names from that team. The losses included two of their top hitters in Josh Denton and Reggie Hebert and their top pitcher in Slade Zeppuhar.

But St. Amant will return starting infielder Lee Amedee. The UL-Lafayette signee hit .419 with four home runs last season.

Nicholls signee Brayden Kuriger will be back as well. He hit .304 with two homers in 2021.

Other top hitters to return will be Cole Poirrier and Camron Planche.

Planche will also be a key piece of the Gators’ pitching staff. He went 4-1 with an 0.91 ERA last season.

Joining him on the mound will be all-district pitcher Brayden Billingsley and Dallis Moran (Nicholls commit).

Head coach Brandon Bravata said that St. Amant is “looking for multiple new players to step up and compete for open starting roles in what is likely one of the toughest schedules in several years. Look for returning hitters such as Lee Amedee, Brayden Kuriger, Cole Poirrier and Camron Planche to lead the offense. The pitching staff looks for Dallis Moran, Brayden Billingsley, Blaise Lalonde and Camron Planche to anchor the rotation. Fans will see many new faces in both the batting lineup and the pitching rotation.”

East Ascension had a good 2021 season as well, winning more than 20 games and reaching the second round of the playoffs.

Head coach Kade Keowen said the loss of Jacob Falgoust, Tanner Hebert and Kael Babin is “tough, because they were basically our coaches on the field.”

Southeastern signee Dominick Regira is expected to lead the Spartans this season, after hitting .337 with 25 RBIs and three home runs in 2021. He also went 5-4 from the mound.

Landon Gautreau, Chance Mire and Dax Powell are also key players returning.

Kowean said that Regira and Kullen Wheat will be the “backbone” of their pitching staff. The staff will also be comprised of Jared Cassard, Peyton Melancon and Luke Conerly.

Keowen said that the middle infield is solid, but the corner positions will be a “battle between four or five guys to see who will win those two spots.”

Keowen said that his team is excited to play on the new artificial turf that has been installed at Johnny Ambeau Park.

“We have 10 seniors and 10 juniors this year, but only a handful have meaningful varsity experience going into this spring,” Keowen said. “It will be very crucial for us to play a lot of players in the first 12-15 games to see how they perform when the bright lights of 5A varsity baseball come on.”