College baseball season ended for slew of parish players

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

A few weeks ago, the Coronavirus forced all of the country’s sports to stop dead in their tracks.

This included college athletics. The NCAA decided to not just suspend spring sports, but to cancel them altogether.

As a result, the 2020 college baseball season ended before it was even halfway finished. Unfortunately, many of the players that had their seasons cut short were from Ascension Parish and playing ball here in Louisiana.

Former All-State Ascension Catholic pitcher Landon Clifton was in the middle of his junior season at Southeastern. It was Clifton’s first year with the Lions, after transferring from LSU-Eunice.

When the season was called, Southeastern was 6-10 overall and 1-2 in conference play.

At Northwestern State, St. Amant’s Larson Fontenot and Dutchtown’s Cameron Sibley were both on the roster.

Sibley, a junior infielder, had started 14 games and was hitting .218 with eight RBIs and an on-base percentage of .338.

Fontenot, a junior outfielder, had played in 10 games and started six.

The Demons were off to a great start. They were 12-4 overall and 2-1 in conference action.

Nicholls was playing well also. They had started off 10-8.

They have one Ascension Parish player in Ivan Prejean. The St. Amant alum is a junior infielder with the Colonels.

Before the season was halted, Prejean had started 15 games and was hitting .255 with 11 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .323.

The NCAA wasn’t the only organization to end the baseball season for good; the National Junior College Athletic Association did the same.

The season stoppage was devastating for LSU-Eunice. The Bengals were hoping to bring home their seventh national championship.

LSU-Eunice won their last title two years ago. They were looking to bounce back after falling just short of the NJCAA Division-II World Series last season.

The Bengals were off to a 21-0 start, and Dutchtown’s Jack Merrifield was playing out of his mind.

The sophomore infielder was hitting a blistering .467 with 32 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .523.

St. Amant’s Reed Babin had started 15 games at catcher and was hitting .267 with eight RBIs and two home runs.

Ascension Catholic’s Mason Zeringue and Dutchtown’s LaMarcus Jones were both redshirting their freshman seasons.

Delgado was off to a 13-9 start.

True freshman Brayden Caskey of Dutchtown had made 12 starts from the infield and was hitting .290 with seven RBIs and an on-base percentage of .421.

Southeastern transfer Dwain Guice (St. Amant) was a perfect 4-0 from the mound, with 23 strikeouts and a 2.37 ERA.

Zane Zeppuhar is another St. Amant alum and Southeastern transfer. He had made eight starts in the outfield, and he had also made three appearances on the mound.

Freshman pitcher Will Reed of Dutchtown is aon the Delgado roster as well.

Baton Rouge Community College also had their season ended. The Bears were off to a shaky start at 14-17.

True freshman infielder and pitcher Blaise Foote (East Ascension) was off to a solid start. Foote had played in 24 games and was hitting .266 with 14 RBIs. He had also made four appearances on the mound and came away with three saves.

Ascension Catholic’s William Dunn, another true freshman infielder, had played in 19 games and was hitting .192 with six RBIs.

Five Ascension players had their seasons cut short at Nunez Community College. They were Ascension Christian’s Nic and Sal Montalbano, Dutchtown’s Frank Miller, East Ascension’s Grant Griffin and St. Amant’s Layton Thigpin.