RA’s White, Rebel players honored on All-State team

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012




RESERVE – When a school’s baseball and softball programs finish in the state final and semifinals respectively, it’s a good bet to expect that school to be well represented when its classification’s All-State teams are announced.

So for Riverside, it isn’t a shock to see five total Rebels represented on the two teams – as well as a coach earning an extremely high honor.

Rebel baseball coach Matt White was named Class 2A Coach of the Year after guiding Riverside to a finish as state runner-up in just his second season.

Pitcher/first baseman Tate Scioneaux and centerfielder Grady Gieger, both seniors, each earned spots on the 2A baseball team after strong seasons, while junior pitcher Destin Vicknair, junior centerfielder Taylor Terrio and eighth grade shortstop Toni Hebert each earned positions on the All-State softball team.

Riverside junior Katie Bailey earned honorable mention.

White guided Riverside to a record of 25-10 this season. After three consecutive seasons of finishing in the state quarterfinals, the Rebels broke through by defeating Menard, 9-3, to advance to the semifinals and the state baseball tournament at Louisiana Tech in Ruston. 

There, fourth-seeded Riverside upset top-seeded Evangel, 3-1, boosted largely by a sensational pitching effort by Scioneaux and a mistake-free defensive game. RA fell in the finals to Calvary Baptist, 3-1.

“It’s huge. After being labeled a softball guy for years … to come back with baseball and go to state in just two years, I can’t believe it happened,“ said White, who coached Riverside to a state softball championship 10 years ago. “The credit goes to our players and my coaching staff, really. They really did the job of putting up with me all year.”

White said that he knew early on that this could be a special season for his team, and that it was because of the leadership shown by his seniors, such as Scioneaux and Gieger.

“Tate told me in the preseason, ‘This year’s gonna be different. We’re all buying in to what you (coaches) are saying,’” said White. “Every time I saw those two guys, they were doing all of the right things.

“Take away Tate’s pitching and Grady’s defensive plays and hitting, and you’ve got  tremendous leaders … We were at Reserve Bantum, and when we heard the (All-State) news, Grady came up to me, hugged me and congratulated me. And I told him, ‘You’re the reason I’m Coach of the Year.‘ When you have talented players who buy in, it makes the coach look good.”

Scioneaux went 10-3 on the mound this year for Riverside with a 0.55 ERA. He struck out 120 batters in 91 innings. At the plate, he hit .450 with six home runs and a .520 on base percentage.

Gieger, meanwhile, hit .440 and socked five home runs to help lift the Rebels’ offense. He also hit for the cycle in a late regular season game. But defensively, he was often even more spectacular, including a state baseball tournament run where he made an exceptional catch in centerfield in both the semifinals and finals.

For the Lady Rebels, it’s the second consecutive season that the program has put three players on the All-State squad, with juniors Vicknair and Terrio making repeat appearances. Hebert makes her first All-State team as just an eighth grader.

“It’s a good sign for our program, and a signal that we’re doing some things right,” said Riverside softball coach Kristy Hebert. “We’re extremely proud of each of them.”

Terrio hit .526 this season and wreaked havoc when she got on base, stealing 21 bags and scoring 36 runs. She also had 14 RBIs and a home run. Terrio’s defense in centerfield was also top-notch once again.

Vicknair turned in another sensational season, her 0.74 ERA and 230 strikeouts among the best marks in the state. At the plate, she hit .400 and knocked in 31 RBIs to go with a pair of home runs. She finished 22-9.

Hebert had a breakout season as an eighth grader, hitting .489 with 22 RBIs and 28 runs scored. As the Rebels’ two-hole hitter, she also led the team with 19 sacrifice bunts.

The trio helped lead Riverside to a 24-9 final record. Riverside bowed out in the state semifinals in Sulphur against John Curtis, 4-3, after defeating Pickering, DeQuincy and Iota in the first three rounds, respectively.

It was the second consecutive season RA finished in the Class 2A semifinals.

“They each had tremendous seasons,” said coach Hebert. “At the same time, everyone on the team can feel proud, because everyone helps contribute to that kind of recognition. For a pitcher to put up those numbers, the players behind her have to make plays defensively. For someone to score a run, or knock in a run, people have to get on base and do their jobs too.