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1998 All Sports Baseball Team

L’Observateur / June 1, 1998

Samson Monica Junior Pitcher East St. John Most Valuable Player

Throughout 1998, whenever East St. John needed a clutch hit or keypitching performance, Monica seemed to be there for the Wildcats.

Against Hahnville in a pivotal District 6-5A game late in the season, Monica pitched a complete game, holding the Tigers to five hits while striking out eight batters. At the plate, Monica went 2-for-3 and drove intwo runs as the Wildcats came away with a 11-3 victory. The followinggame against Central Lafourche, Monica helped the Wildcats overcome a 9- 0 deficit by hitting a home run and driving in two runs.

That game led to a season-ending matchup with district champion Thibodaux, winners of 13 straight district games. Again the Wildcats fellbehind, trailing the Tigers 9-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Clutch hits by the bottom of the lineup and singles by Roydell Williams and Jeremy Mitchell tied the score.

With the winning run at third, the Tigers elected to walk Kerry Watkins to get to Monica. Again Monica produced, bouncing a single past a chargingthird baseman to bring in the winning run. The victory allowed theWildcats to finish in a second-place tie with South Lafourche, forcing a playoff.

Although the Wildcats lost that game to finish third, they still advanced to the bi-district playoffs at Sarah Reed. And there was Monica, twirling atwo-hitter while striking out 11 batters in a 10-1 victory.

Monica finished the season with a 7-5 record and a 2.22 earned runaverage. His 82 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings were among the metro arealeaders in Class 5A.

At the plate, Monica batted .412, including a .449 average with runners inscoring position. His seven home runs and 46 runs batted in led theWildcats and the latter was also among the metro leaders. And he couldget the job on the bases as well, stealing 12 bases in 12 attempts.

Frank Monica St. Charles CatholicCoach of the Year

If there is one word to describe Monica, it is winner. As a player forReserve High School in the 1960s, Monica helped lead the Wildcats to back-to-back district championships. From there, he moved on to NichollsState, where he helped the Colonels become the first Louisiana team to play in the College World Series.

Monica was named head baseball coach at Lutcher in 1973 and led them to the Class 3A state championship two years later. While at Lutcher, he wasalso an assistant coach on a state championship football team and coached the Bulldogs to another state championship two years later. Monica thenwent to Tulane where he was part of two bowl teams with the Green Wave.

Monica was hired last summer to coach St. Charles Catholic’s crosscountry and baseball squads. Monica immediately pulled off his magic,leading the cross country team to its first district title since 1992. Asfor baseball, the Comets took awhile to get accustomed to the change in coaches and styles. But Monica rallied his troops, leading the Comets tothe District 9-2A title, surprising favorites Riverside and Ridgewood along the way.

Then came the postseason with the Comets rallying time and time again to advance to the state finals for the first time since 1977. Trailing oncemore to Pope John Paul II, the Comets rallied again to tie the score before the Jaguars went ahead for good.

What will be remembered about the Comets’ 1998 season is not that they fell short of their dream, however, but the determination they showed in attempting to reach it. And that determination was a reflection of thework ethic instilled by Monica.

Courtney Bonura Junior Pitcher St. Charles Catholic

One of the best big-game pitchers in the area, Bonura never demonstrated more than in the Comets’ state semifinal game against Loyola Prep.

The Flyers had opened the game with a double and home run to take a 2-0 lead. But instead of being shell-shocked by the sudden explosion, Bonurakept his composure to retire the final three batters of the inning to give the Comets momentum. The Comets would carry that momentum to a 4-3victory with Bonura pitching the complete game, striking out eight batters along the way.

That was a typical outing for Bonura who helped the Comets to the District 9-2A title with a 3-0 record and 3.76 ERA.

Brandon Laiche Junior Pitcher St. Charles Catholic

Laiche combined with Bonura and John Price to give the Comets a formidable pitching staff. His gutty effort in relief in the championshipgame gave the Comets a chance to win it late.

Laiche, like Bonura, was an all-District 9-2A selection. He went 4-0 witha 1.74 ERA in district play with 27 strikeouts in 20 innings of work.

Corey Marcel Senior Pitcher Destrehan

Marcel helped the Wildcats bounce back from a 0-13 start to finish in the thick of the playoff race in District 6-5A. He was a first team all-districtselection as a pitcher after finishing the season with a 5-3 record and a 3.91 ERA. Marcel also could get it done at the plate, batting .436 with fourhome runs and 13 doubles.

Joey Poirrier Junior Pitcher Riverside

Poirrier really came on down the stretch, going 3-0 in district action with a 3.92 ERA and 22 strikeouts. The all-District 9-2A selection finished theseason 5-1 with one save, often coming in late to pitch the Rebels out of a jam. Poirrier, who also saw action at third base, was also dangerous withthe stick, batting .340 in 1998.

Mark Whitney Senior Pitcher Lutcher

Whitney excelled on the mound and in the classroom, being named to the Class 3A academic all-state honorable mention team with a 3.1224 gradepoint average.

On the mound, Lutcher coach Matt Dornier said the Bulldogs would not have gone as far as they did without him. Whitney followed up a 8-2 record in1997 with a 8-3 record this year that included three wins against Catholic League schools. He finished the season with a 1.65 ERA with 75strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings.

Jason Gonzales Senior Catcher St. Charles Catholic

After the state championship game, coach Monica praised the leadership shown by the seniors on the team, One of those providing leadership on and off the field was Gonzales who helped a young pitching staff find itself throughout the season.

Gonzales heated up at the plate during district play, batting .500 and tyingfor the district lead with 17 RBIs. It was his single that drove in theeventual winning run in the semifinal game against Loyola.

Lance Roques Senior Catcher Lutcher

Like his battery mate Whitney, Roques was an outstanding student- athlete. A member of the Class 3A academic all-state honorable mentionteam with a 3.4082 GPA, Roques was also a leader on the field. A four-year starter, Dornier let Roques call the pitches in any game, a rare honor.

Dornier said Roques won a lot of games for the Bulldogs with his bat. Anexample of that was the triple he lined off the left-center field wall in Zephyr Field that sparked the Bulldogs to a victory over DeLaSalle early in the season. He finished the season with a .447 batting average, 30 RBIsand a team-leading seven home runs.

Tyrone Howard Senior Infielder St. James

St. James coach Davey Clement said Howard gave all he could for the team.Howard moved from catcher to first base this season and Clement said he did it without complaint and made no errors at the position. The secondteam all-District 10-3A selection, Howard batted .528 with 12 RBIs indistrict play.

Jeremy Mitchell Junior Infielder East St. John

Mitchell was a steady first baseman for the Wildcats, making the first team on the all-District 6-5A squad. Mitchell, the team’s second holehitter, set up the big sticks in the lineup by batting .382 and tying for theteam lead with Monica with 10 doubles. Mitchell was also one of theteam’s best clutch hitters, batting .513 with runners in scoring position.

Namata Nassar Senior Infielder Lutcher

Dornier said Nassar was a very unselfish player, willing to play wherever it would help the team. Nassar started out at third base before moving toshortstop. On the mound, he was 3-0 with a ERA under one before districtstarted, but his ability at shortstop forced Dornier to keep him there.

Nassar finished the season with a team-high .447 batting average and 32RBIs and four home runs.

John Price Junior Infielder St. Charles Catholic

Price is one of the best all-around athletes in the area, excelling on the football field, the basketball court and on the baseball diamond. He reallycame through in the quarterfinal game against Opelousas Catholic with a three-run home run and victory in relief of Bonura, and in semifinal game against Loyola, going 4-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Price was named the District9-2A most valuable player after helping the Comets to the district title with a .438 batting average, three home runs and 15 RBIs in district play.Overall, he hit .486 with six home runs and 35 RBIs.

Dustin Zimmer Junior Infielder Riverside

Zimmer was the one who got things started for the Rebels out of the lead- off position. Zimmer was one of the top hitters around all season, batting.448 with six home runs.But it was in district play that Zimmer really sizzled. He led the districtwith four home runs and was second in both average (.531) and RBIs (16)and was selected to the all-District 9-2A team.

Wesley Louque Junior Outfielder Lutcher

Louque sparked the Bulldogs from his leadoff position. Louque was movedinto the leadoff position during the season and did a real good job according to Dornier. The strong-armed outfielder batted .441 with 21RBIs and a team-high 35 runs scored. Louque also walked 20 times duringthe season.

Mike Minvielle Senior Outfielder Lutcher

Dornier said he could not say enough about Minvielle, saying that he comes to the ballpark and does the job. Dornier said he was a very coachableplayer, always willing to give 100 percent. One of the best players on theLutcher squad, Minvielle had decent speed, was a steady outfielder and had a real good sense for the game. At the plate, Minvielle batted .369 with 31runs and 21 RBIs.

Ty Monica Senior Outfielder St. Charles Catholic

An example of what Monica meant to the team could be seen in the first inning of the Comets’ semifinal game against Loyola. With the Cometstrailing by two beat out a bunt and then outran a pickoff throw at second.

From there he came around to score the Comets’ first run as they went on to win the game.

An outstanding defensive outfielder and baserunner, Monica batted .387 inbeing named to the all-District 9-2A team. He was also an excellentstudent, making the Class 2A academic all-state team with a 3.6896 GPA.

Mike Roger Senior Outfielder Hahnville

Hahnville coach Britt Oubre said that when Roger led off by getting on base, more times than not, he would steal second and come around to score. As he went, so often times did the Tigers.And more often than not, Roger did get on base, compiling a .539 on-basepercentage. Roger batted .397, walked 19 times and stole 15 bases inhelping the Tigers to a 13-8 overall record.

Wayne Stein Junior Outfielder St. Charles Catholic

Stein provided firepower out of the cleanup position for the Comets. Afine outfielder, Stein was one of the hottest hitters in District 9-2A, batting .507 with three homes and 13 RBIs in 10 district games. For hisaccomplishments, he was named to the all-District 9-2A team.

Roydell Williams Junior Outfielder East St. John

Another outstanding multi-sport athlete, playing football and basketball in addition to starring on the diamond. The Wildcats lead-off hittersparked many a rally, leading the team with a .531 batting average withrunners in scoring position. Williams was also proficient in crossing theplate himself, scoring a team-high 42 runs to go a long with a club- leading .531 batting average. Williams also placed second on the teamwith 20 stolen bases in 25 attempts.

Dewey Matherne Junior Designated Hitter Hahnville

Matherne played first base and even pitched a little for the Tigers, picking up three saves in relief. The District 6-5A selection batted .405 overall(.440 in district) with 18 RBIs, six doubles and four stolen bases.

Torrian Thomas Junior Designated Hitter West St. John

Another top student-athlete, Thomas is a honor role student at West St.

John and a very good leader according to head coach Lennix Madere. Thomasplayed a number of positions for the Rams including pitcher, catcher and third base. The all-District 9-2A honorable mention selection finished theseason with a .417 batting average and 27 RBIs.

Sean Delaneuville Freshman Utility Riverside

Delaneuville was one of the Rebels’ best clutch hitters batting out of the third hole. Delaneuville was also the Rebels’ do-all player, playing thirdbase, first base and designated hitter during the season. He was an all-District 9-2A selection as an infielder after batting .467 with two homeruns and 17 RBIs in district play and .438 overall.

Nick Riley Senior Utility Reserve Christian

Riley was the ace pitcher for the Eagles who made it to the Louisiana Christian Schools Athletic Association state championship game this season.

Riley went 4-0 this season with 28 strikeouts in 30 innings. But therereally wasn’t a position he couldn’t play, seeing action also at catcher, shortstop and third base. At the plate, Riley batted .273 with an on-basepercentage of .472. Coach Brian Sullivan said Riley really stepped in up atthe end of the season, batting over .500 over the second half, and made adifference in the Eagles’ batting order.

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