Hayes Named Male Athlete of the Year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 1998

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / January 21, 1998

LAPLACE – Preston Hayes, a graduate of Riverside Academy, capped amemorable year recently by being selected as the River Parishes MaleAthlete of the Year by Rep. Robert Faucheux and the Louisiana Legislature.

Hayes was the starting quarterback for Riverside during the 1996-97school year, guiding the Rebels to a quarterfinal appearance.

In baseball,Hayes’ bottom of the seventh home run against Newman lifted the Rebelsto the District 10-2A title and was selected the district’s most valuableplayer.

Hayes was named Riverside’s Male Athlete of the Year and also wasselected by L’Observateur as the most valuable baseball player in theRiver Parishes. He finished the season with a .473 batting average withseven home runs and 34 runs batted in.

After the season, Hayes followed in the footsteps of a number of formerathletes from the River Parishes, signing with Southeastern LouisianaUniversity to play baseball. Joining Hayes on the Lions are seven playersfrom the area, including St. Charles Catholic’s Brock Anderson, Riverside’sTravis Duhon and Hahnville’s Tyson Rogers and Craig Gonzales.

Hayes isroommates with Anderson, Rogers and Gonzales.

“Having guys here I already knew made it easier,” Hayes said of thetransition from high school to college life.

Another thing that helped make the transition easier on the field for Hayeswas his playing for the Bill Hood team that won the National AmateurBaseball Federation Senior Division World Championship in Evansville,Ind., in August. Hayes contributed to the title by getting three hits, drivingin three runs and scoring three times to get the Broncos to thechampionship game.

“It was super,” Hayes said of winning the World Series title. “It was likewinning the state championship in high school. It was something I won’tforget.”

Hayes knows whereof he speaks. He helped Riverside capture the statechampionship in his sophomore year by hitting a team-high .553 with ninehome runs and 40 RBIs.

Hayes is currently working out after having completed practice in the fall.

He said practice went really well and that he was really pleased with thecoaches and his teammates.

“The other guys accepted me and the coaches were great,” Hayes said.

“They made it an easier transition for me.”

Hayes has also excelled in making the transition in the classroom as well.

A member of the Class 2A Academic All-State honorable mention team inhigh school with a 3.39 grade point average, the pre-med major hascontinued that success at SLU, being named to the dean’s list his firstsemester.

Hayes said practicing baseball in the fall helped take his mind off notplaying football this past year. Hayes did get to watch his younger brother,Jason, a sophomore, play for the Rebels this past season.

As for his baseball career, Hayes, who has been practicing in left field andat first base, said he does not know if he will start this year or not yet,but said whatever decision coach Gary Martin and his staff make he willagree with.

“Whatever decision they make will be the right one,” Hayes said.

The Lions started practice for the 1998 season last week. River Parishesfans will have a short trip to see their first game as SLU opens the seasonagainst Centenary in a tournament at the New Orleans Zephyrs’ stadium inMetairie. Hayes said he was excited about the new season.”I saw a lot of good things for the future,” Hayes said of his assessmentof the team after fall practice.

Photo – Preston Hayes, a graduate of Riverside Academy,was recently honored as the River Parishes Male Athlete of the Year by Rep. Robert Faucheux and the Louisiana Legislature.

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