From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / May 19, 1999

This past week was one of those weeks my auto mechanic loves.

Tuesday, it was a trip to Baton Rouge for the Class 2A baseball semifinals. On Saturday, it was off to New Iberia for the Class 5Aquarterfinals. Then a quick trip to Thibodaux for the Class 3A finals.At least I know where Cade, Patterson and LeBoeuf, Louisiana are now.

But you know what, it was fun. And what made it fun were the players.Yes, Destrehan, St. Charles Catholic, Riverside, Hahn-ville, East St. Johnand Lutcher came up short in their quests for a state title. But it hadnothing to do with a lack of heart or determination.

The fact that six local teams made the state playoffs is a testament to the talent and baseball knowledge of then tri-parish area. How many otherareas of similar size in the state can boast of that success? And this was after playing in some of the toughest districts in the state. Destrehan,East St. John and Hahnville play in District 6-5A, a district that saw threeteams make the regionals.

Lutcher came out of District 10-3A, home of defending state champion E.D.White and last year’s state runner-up, Plaque-mine. Riverside and St.Charles Catholic placed one-two in District 9-2A. At one point during theseason, that district boasted of four teams in the Top 15 in the state. Twoeventually advanced to the semifinals.

In the past week, I’ve seen players like East St. John’s Samson Monica,Lutcher’s Bo Louque and Riverside’s Casey Duhe pitch. There is a word usedin sports to describe those players – “gamers.” They wanted the ball inthose games. It may be a cliche, but these are players I would like to be ina foxhole with. George Patton would have loved them.Speaking of field leaders, the coaches of those teams all did a tremendous job this year. All brought their teams through rough stretches to get themin the position to be among the best in the state.

The majority of the players on these teams had been in the postseason before but that did not lessen their excitement. I’m sitting on top of thethird base dugout in Acadian Park Saturday and I could hear the chatter by the East St. John players in the first base dugout clearly, that was howmuch enthusiasm they showed. The same was true for all of the localsquads.

In the end, it took excellent pitching performances to knock out the locals.

Destrehan and East St. John fell to the bulldozer that was Brandon Bartheland the Rummel Raiders.

Hahnville was held in check by Tulane signee Casey Daigle. Ridgewood’sJeremy Collins shut down St. Charles Catholic. Riverside fell to Loyola’sBobby Gilliam and Patrick Rhodes. And E.D. White’s Jake Ritchie gotstronger as the game went on to defeat Lutcher.

But the local teams have nothing to hang their heads about. They showedcharacter, heart, talent and determination throughout. For that, they arewinners as well.

Return To Sports Stories

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

Internet services provided by NeoSoft.

Best viewed with 3.0 or higher