Riverside’s Lee Haydel signs with LSU

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 5, 2005

Local product contacted by several big name schools, but takes scholarship to join Tigers


Sports Editor

It’s possible to be a Rebel and a Tiger at the same time, isn’t it?

Riverside senior Lee Haydel is already a tried-and-true Rebel, and next Fall he’ll be joining the LSU family after commiting to Tigers baseball last month.

Born and raised in St. John Parish, Lee is the son of Henry and Charlotte Haydel of Reserve. He began playing baseball, he said, in the Garyville Little League at the age of about five.

&#8220Yeah, he hasn’t stopped playing since we got him in T-ball,” said his father.

And thirteen years later, he is a hot commodity on the recruitment list of several established programs including Arkansas, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. But the Riverside tri-sport athlete opted to take the scholarship offered by LSU to stay in-state and play with a perennial contender.

Standing just a shade under six-feet, with shoulders that will make it hard to find a suit that fits well, Haydel caught the eye of scouts while playing in the All-American League Tournament in Johnstown, Pennsylvania this year.

&#8220He’s got all the tools,” said Riverside coach Steve Stropolo. &#8220It’s obvious that he can handle the college level. He can run, he’s got the right build – he looks like a ball player and he plays like one. He’s got a great opportunity.”

Haydel said that the favorite part of his high school career has been the baseball playoffs. In his three years at Riverside, the Rebels have made it to the post-season each year, including last year where they made it to the semi-finals before bowing out to eventual state winner Ouichita. Haydel has also contributed on the football team at running back and on the track team as a sprinter and distance jumper. As a junior he batted.479 and last season he knocked in seven home runs and 22 RBIs.

&#8220He’s got a chance to make it with his talent,” said Stropolo about Haydel’s potential. &#8220But at the next level, conditioning becomes more of a factor. But I like to say that Lee’s one of those kids that work on Sundays when nobody else is. So he may have a chance to get drafted.”

In fact, the Pittsburg Pirates have already inquired about Haydel’s medical history through mail correspondence. But as of now, the 18-year old center-fielder is concentrating on preperations for the Rebels season which opens in February.

As for starting college next Fall, Haydel said he’s excited to get started. He’s unsure what he’ll take up academically, though he’s not leaning in any way towards Math as a major. But he’s stayed on top of his high school classes in addition to all of his athletics, earning a 3.2 GPA at Riverside.

His hobbies inlude rooting for the Yankees, playing NCAA football on his Playstation 2 and listening to music and he credits his parents and God for his achievments thus far. But after moving on up to Baton Rouge next year, he’s not likely to forget where he came from.

&#8220Oh, It’ll be great to come back out here for some ball games when I get some free time after I get up there,” he said. &#8220This is a great school.”