Parish baseball teams ready for 2016 season

Kyle Riviere
St. Amant returns a .459 hitter in Florida International signee Adam Sevario. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

Last season saw no Ascension baseball team from District 5-5A advance past the first round of the playoffs. East Ascension, Dutchtown and St. Amant are looking to change that in 2016.

Each of the three squads were forced to replace many of their most talented players last season. As expected, there were many bumps in the road on their way to the postseason.

St. Amant finished with the best record of the three teams. The Gators finished 17-14, but they were soundly beaten by Acadiana in the first round of the playoffs.

The Gators lose three important pieces from that team in sluggers Justin Duhon and Brock Bowen and pitcher Tyler Dixon. Duhon and Bowen each hit .394 with a combined 56 RBIs, while Dixon went 5-1 from the mound.

However, St. Amant will return the sparkplug of their offense in leadoff hitter and Florida International signee Adam Sevario. Sevario was first-team all-district last season as he hit a gaudy .459 with 21 RBIs.

Another key weapon returning for St. Amant will be three-sport star Briggs Bourgeois. Bourgeois had a .587 on-base percentage in 2015 as he hit .358 and walked 32 times.

Other hitters that should make the Gators' lineup dangerous will be Ivan Prejean and Brock Gonzales.

On the mound, St. Amant brings back the parish's best pitcher in junior Blayne Enlow. Enlow committed to LSU during the summer. He will be complimented by Tyler Tidwell, Hayden Mallory and Collin Bourgeois.

Head coach Troy Templet said that his team is "looking to use the experiences from the last prep season and the summer to help this team grow and come together as a team."

Dutchtown came on strong at the end of 2015 due to their exceptional pitching. Sitting at 11-16 and in danger of missing the playoffs, they finished the season on a five-game winning streak.

In the playoffs, they were eliminated by eventual state champion Barbe.

The Griffins lost many of their key hitters from last year. Brandt Fritsche, Tyler Boeding, Nick Ourso and Conner Ghere have all graduated.

Fortunately for Dutchtown, they bring back two Northwestern State commits in Payton Stafford and Caleb Ricca. Cullen Ballard, Dane Anderson and Bailey Braud also return to the Griffins' lineup.

Heading into 2016, Dutchtown has to face tremendous uncertainty on the mound. They lost their ace in Dillon Abbess. Abbess was an LSU-Eunice signee and All-State selection.

They also lost Donovan Goatley--who pitched a no-hitter last season--Hunter Sanford and Matthew Avrill.

As a result, the Griffins will start the season with not one pitcher that had significant varsity experience in 2015.

"This year's group has really worked hard in the offseason and has been really working hard this spring," head coach Chris Schexnaydre said. "We hope to pitch well and play really good defense. I think we will have some speed in the lineup to help us out offensively, and we plan to use many arms on the mound this year."

East Ascension came the closest to reaching the second round of the playoffs last season. Despite going just 15-16 during the regular season, they pushed fourth-seeded Lafayette to the limit before dropping a 2-1 heartbreaker.

The Spartans will be without many of their best players from that team.

They will lose Nicholls State signee Tristan Babin, Cole Holley and Hayden Adams. All three players were two-way threats from the plate and the mound.

They also lose great hitters such as Kade Waguespack, Ben Thompson and Jorda LeBlanc.

First-team all-district player Austin McInnis returns for East Ascension. He'll be expected to lead the Spartans from the batter's box and the mound. Brandt Fairchild will be another hurler East Ascension brings back.

Along with those players, second-team all-district standouts Charles Stevens and Noah Fontenot return, along with Jacob Thompson.