Former Griffin drafted by the Mariners

Kyle Riviere
Caleb Ricca started 150 straight games for Northwestern State. Photo courtesy of

Ascension Parish has had no shortage of standouts going on to get drafted into Major League Baseball.

Not that long ago, it was a pair of former parish pitchers in St. Amant's Blayne Enlow and Dutchtown's Cole Stapler that got their calls. Now, it's former Griffin infielder Caleb Ricca.

Now an all-conference starting short stop at Northwestern State, Ricca was drafted by the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. The Mariners selected him in the 23rd round. This marked the first time ever that the organization has drafted a player from Northwestern State.

Ricca, a junior, said that he couldn't pass up on the offer.

"I was ready to come back to school, set some records and win another conference championship, but the Mariners called and gave me the number I asked for. I talked about it with my dad. He kept me in check," Ricca said.

Three of his Northwestern teammates were also selected.

Senior pitcher Nathan Jones was drafted in the fifth round by the New York Mets, senior infielder David Frey was drafted in the seventh round by the Milwaukee Brewers and senior outfielder Kwan Adkins was selected in the 30th round by the San Francisco Giants.

Ricca is a three-year starter for the Demons.

"Caleb got better every single year," Northwestern State head coach Bobby Barbier said. "He came in and earned the starting short stop spot as a freshman and never let it go. He really loves the game. He's somebody who played each summer to get better. He really, really works hard at it. I'm happy for Caleb and for his family. He deserves it."

Ricca had a heralded career at Dutchtown, where he made first-team All-District 5-5A and first-team All-Parish his senior season.

He went on to sign with the Demons, and he wasted no time making an impact.

As his freshman season progressed, he took over the starting spot at short stop, and he never let it go. He ended his career starting 150 straight games--including all 62 of the Demons' matchups in 2019.

As a sophomore, Ricca hit .265 with 26 RBIs and two home runs. He also scored 36 runs, which ranked fourth on the team.

Most impressively, Ricca led the club with 20 stolen bases on 22 attempts. The closest teammate to that number had just seven.

His strong performance helped Northwestern State have the greatest season in the program's history as they won the Southland Conference Tournament championship and reached their first-ever NCAA Regional.

This season, Ricca only got better.

He ranked second on the team with a .309 batting average and 35 RBIs. He led the squad in hits (67), doubles (17), walks (31) and stolen bases (24). He also shared the team lead in triples with three.

His 24 stolen bases led the Southland Conference and was tied for 10th-most in Northwestern State single-season history. His 47 career stolen bases ranks 10th all time at the school.

Also, his 38 career doubles ranks ninth in Demon history.

This season, Ricca was a third-team All-Southland performer.