By GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2004

RESERVE – During the 2002 and 2003 baseball seasons, East St. John pitcher Josh Sylvan was a leader. In 2004, he was the same. His life was tragically cut short when he was murdered early Sunday morning. East St. John head baseball coach Macky Waguespack reflected on Sylvan’s life.

“He had been developing into a good pitcher,” observed Waguespack. “At this point, he means a lot to our success.”

Leadership was perhaps Sylvan’s strongest characteristic. Waguespack recalled a time when he pitched a game against St. Amant and came back two days later and pitched against Central Lafourche.

“He gave up four hits against one of the top teams in 5A (St. Amant) and came back and got us a big win against Central Lafourche.”

Regardless of whether Sylvan was pitching or not, he used his leadership to lift other players up when they had been struggling at the plate or on the mound.

“Josh would tell the other players ‘get your head up and do your job,’ continued Waguespack.

Sylvan finished with a record of 2-2 in 26 innings of work.

Off the field, Sylvan could be described at the same type of person as on the field, according to Waguespack.

“He was always very respectful around campus. He followed the rules for the most part and did what he had to do.”

His attitude was a “take the ball and run with it” type of attitude.

“He had nosed out everything he did,” said the second-year coach.

Even on his bad days, Sylvan never complained about being replaced.

There were times when Sylvan started a game and only lasted until the third inning or so.

“He would tell me ‘coach I just don’t have my stuff today. I will come back and throw this weekend and get it done,” said Waguespack.

Sylvan was close to all of his teammates, especially PJ Millet, Dominick Thomas and Ryan Perrilloux. When meeting with his players, Waguespack said each of those players told him how Sylvan touched each of their lives in his own unique and special way.

“He would clown and joke around with everybody,” said Waguespack.

Waguespack said he received a phone call from one of his players around 4:00A.M. Sunday morning. He said at first he was “shocked”, and thought about something even worse.

“I am thinking to myself I hope none of those 17 others (players) were with Josh or saw it happen.”

For the remainder of the season, the Wildcats will hang Sylvan’s jersey in the dugout (number 14) and wear black bands on their arms.

Waguespack said his team is ready to resume with the season, which will be tomorrow against South Lafourche.

“It would help ease the pain if we could get back to work. I think they’ll be ready for the game Thursday,” he said.