Wombats set for summer baseball

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Head coach Conrad Gayle and the Gauthier & Amedee Wombats will be seeking a state title this summer. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The high-school baseball season may be over, but aspirations of winning a state title are just beginning for Ascension’s best players.

As the school year comes to a close and the heat intensifies, the parish’s standout baseball players are coming together for the American Legion baseball season. Second-year head coach Conrad Gayle and his Gauthier & Amedee squad have their eyes set on the state championship.

“We have a great core group this year. We came close last season. We made a good run, reached the semifinals,” Gayle said. “Losing left a bad taste in our mouths, and the guys are just chomping at the bit to get back on the field. We have some great depth. We have some very athletic guys and a great pitching staff. The guys compliment each other well.”

Gayle, an assistant coach at Dutchtown, will be joined on the Wombat coaching staff by East Ascension head coach Britt Waguespack. They’ll be leading a Gauthier & Amedee squad that went 17-11 last season, won their district title and came just two victories away from being the class of Louisiana.

The Wombats’ greatest strength this season looks to be their pitching.

“Any time your staff is led by Blayne Enlow, you’re in good shape. He’s just blessed with God-given talent,” Gayle said. “Hunter Sanford finds the strike-zone well, and we also have Brandon Foncree from EA and Taylor Tidwell from St. Amant. He really stepped up big time as a senior.

“Caleb Blanchard really emerged as our No. 1 guy this season at Dutchtown. The back end of our rotation can really make things difficult for any lineup with guys like Tristan Babin and Caleb Ricca. We have a lot of depth. I’m excited to hand them the ball and see what they can do.”

Gauthier & Amedee features a plethora of great hitters—maybe the best being St. Amant’s all-district star and Florida International signee Adam Sevario.

Sevario returns after missing most of last summer due to a serious back injury he sustained in a car accident.

“I’m excited to have him back as our leadoff guy. He and Caleb Ricca are spark plugs for us. They always find a way to get on base, and when they do get on, they can do so much for you,” Gayle said. “Adam has unbelievable instincts, and it’s fun to watch him play the game. I’m amazed at some of the things he can do. You know that he’ll be productive. I’m excited to have him back as a team leader. He brings so much energy to the team.”

Gayle is very excited about the many first-time Wombat players that have joined the team.

“This parish has so many great baseball players,” Gayle said. “Ryan Williams is a guy that I didn’t know a lot about until this season when I saw him have a great year as EA’s three-hole hitter. Cullen Ballard is a perfect summer player. I say that because it doesn’t matter if it’s 110 degrees, he’s going to keep playing hard. He never takes a day off, and he’ll run through a wall for you. Ivan Prejean is one of the best hitters in the parish. We couldn’t get him out at Dutchtown.”

Other fresh new faces include Dutchtown infielder Cameron Crawford, East Ascension catcher Jake Thompson and outfielder Noah Fontenot and Episcopal’s Christopher Beckman.

With so many proven players, Coach Gayle said that his team has the potential to do great things this summer.

“Any time you put that Gauthier & Amedee uniform on, the goal is to win state, and I think we can do that this year,” Gayle said. “We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time, but I think we can do it. A lot of people see us putting together so many great players from three different teams, and they think that will guarantee us being great, but it doesn’t work that way. A lot of times, the best teams on paper don’t win.

“We have to gel and grow our team chemistry. We have a tough schedule, but we just have to make it to the state tournament. Once we make it, anything can happen.”