Summer produced many standouts for Townsend Homes
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 25, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
When Townsend Homes lost to Hahnville-based Otto Candies last week in the American Legion West division playoffs, it represented the fourth straight season that the St. Charles-based squad fell on the outside looking in at the regional round.
“It’s a disappointment,” said Townsend Coach Paul Waguespack. “We’ve been in the same spot for four years. We just can’t seem to get past it.”
So ends a marathon like stretch for St. Charles, which played deep into the prep season playoffs and into the state championship game for the second straight year, then followed things up with a 23-game slate in the summer – the most games the team has played in Waguespack’s tenure as coach. Townsend finished the summer with a 12-11-1 record.
Naturally, Waguespack entered the summer with designs on winning the West division and advancing to the Southeast Regional. But, like most coaches, he also uses the summer for evaluation, a way to begin forming what he hopes will be a 2009 squad not only equipped to return to the 3A championship game, but to win it.
He scheduled as many games as he did with the expectation that his pitching staff would be up to it. His faith was rewarded. Marc Picciola entered and exited the summer as the team’s top starter, but the rotation behind him was stabilized in a big way by lefthanders Jared Keating and Henri Fauchier, among others.
“I was more than satisfied with our pitching,” Waguespack said. “Fauchier looked really good at times. And I felt like (Keating) really matured a bunch this summer. Both of those guys are sophomores, so the future is bright for St. Charles.”
In the field and at the plate, the competition for jobs has been a fierce one. Waguespack must replace four seniors, and says that the lineup is not yet solidified.
One who has stepped up this summer, the coach points out, is Brady Hitt, who hit .390 and played leftfield, first base, and pitched for Townsend.
“He did some real good things,” said Waguespack. “He has to play somewhere.”
Among returning regulars, D.J. Wesley and Nick Reine shined. Wesley hit .380, while Reine notched a .410 average with six home runs.
They, along with Alex Marse, Picciola and Brandon Becker, entered and exited the summer with secure roles in the starting lineup.
In Becker’s case, that role may come in a different spot. The Townsend first baseman played third at times during the summer, something Waguespack says could continue.
“He’s a real good first baseman. We experimented a bit with him at third, and he did a nice job,” said Waguespack. “We got a look at him there, and it could be an option for us.”
Waguespack said that he wasn’t happy with the fact that his team lost as many games this summer (11) as it did in all of prep season. But the difficult schedule the team played, one that left it often on the wrong side of a one or two-run decision, will be beneficial in the long run.
“Playing good competition is what it’s all about, be it in prep or the summer,” he said. “We could schedule a bunch of light-weights and go 22-2, but what good is that? These games are going to help us respond in tough situations.”