New coach Waguespack brings energy and tempo to Spartans
First-year Spartan head coach Britt Waguespack is hoping the energy and enthusiasm he has brought to the program will translate into his team getting over the hump and making a deep playoff run in 2015.
Waguespack takes over as East Ascension skipper after head coach Mike Toups abruptly resigned last summer, fresh off of leading the Spartans for the last three seasons.
Waguespack had been an assistant under Toups during those three years but now with Toups out of the picture, it's officially his team, and he couldn't be more excited.
He's trying to get that enthusiasm and fire to rub off on his team as they head into the season.
"Energy, tempo and excitement--ETE--is a phrase that is shared and repeated every day throughout our program, and we look forward to the challenges and opportunities that are upon us," Waguespack said.
He feels that giving his team's style of play a shot in the arm will lead to more success come playoff time.
"We're going to pick up the tempo of our style of play," Waguespack said. "We're extremely excited about the upcoming season in many ways. We'll set the tempo with energy and excitement throughout the program."
The Spartans certainly know what it takes to have postseason success.
Despite going through a rough patch that resulted in six straight losses to end the 2014 regular season, East Ascension put things together when they had to.
They upset seventh-seeded Comeaux in the opening round of the playoffs before losing two one-run games to Live Oak in their second-round series.
The close defeats have been all the motivation the Spartans have needed as they prepared for 2015.
"We really stressed body strength and mental toughness to get us to the next step," Waguespack said. "We lost to Live Oak in the state regional round last season--who ended up the Class 5A state runner-up. To play so well at the end of last season and get no reward was an easy starting point for us in the offseason."
It won't be easy getting over the hump for East Ascension. They did lose some of their best players from last year's squad.
Most notably, they lost their ace Austin Millet. Millet was a first-team all-district player that signed with Southern Miss.
In addition to being their top pitcher, he was also their top hitter as he compiled a .327 batting average with two home runs and 23 RBIs.
Luke Lambert was also a big bat that was lost. Lambert was an all-district performer that batted .301 with 21 RBIs.
The Spartans also lost all-district players in Nick Purpera, Layne Trahan, Baron LeBlanc, Brandon Ansardi and Jake Schexnayder.
Despite those great players being gone, Waguespack is confident in the crew he has coming back.
That crew is led by Tristan Babin, a Nicholls State signee. Babin was a first-team all-district selection last season as he hit .315 with 31 RBIs.
Other all-district performers coming back will be recent Air Force Academy football signee Kade Waguespack and Cole Holley. Waguespack was a very consistent hitter last season--sporting a .323 average, and Holley should provide a big boost in power in the middle of the Spartans' lineup.
Holley should also be a huge asset from the mound. He went 6-3 last season with 38 strikeouts and a superb 2.11 ERA. Joining him will be Austin McInnis--who went 1-2 with a 3.46 ERA last year.
Coach Waguespack thinks newcomers Noah Fontenot and Trent LeBlanc could also be key cogs in the Spartan rotation.
Of course, the district will be a challenge. East Ascension will have to go head to head with the three district champs from last year: St. Amant, Dutchtown and Catholic. The Spartans went winless against the three last season.
However, Coach Waguespack is confident his team has what it takes to make some noise in District 5-5A this year.
"We feel we have the pitching and leadership to compete and take that next step," Waguespack said. "We have the guys coming back, paired with some exciting newcomers that really should be fun to watch."