Townsend caps off summer

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012



LAPLACE —  St. Charles Catholic baseball coach Paul Waguespack remained even-keeled when describing his thoughts on the performance of his Comets-based Townsend Homes team in American Legion play this summer.

“We were okay,” he said, two days after Townsend was officially eliminated from the Second District playoffs. “But I don’t feel like we answered any questions. We’ve still got a number of spots on the field that are unsettled.”

It was an up and down summer for Townsend Homes; the team looked like world-beaters after downing Holy Cross and Rummel-based teams to begin the season.

Later, it very much resembled the same team during prep season that had a knack for coming up in the clutch, as it did in a 3-2 win over Peake BMW (Brother Martin) or a 1-0 win over Gulf Coast Bank (Chalmette), games keyed by Mason Bordelon’s walk-off RBI single and David Bleakley’s three-hit shutout respectively.

But then there was the team at the end of the summer that struggled mightily against West Division foes Otto Candies (Hahnville) and Valero-St. Charles (Destrehan), including a quick elimination at their hands in the double-elimination district playoffs.

“In some areas, we just didn’t get the job done,” said Waguespack. “Some guys didn’t step up and take advantage of the chance they had to solidify a spot, and as a result we’re still looking for a few guys to step up and take the reins.”

The top of the batting order, however, has been well-established. Chad McNeil, Brandon Zimmer, Austin Weber and Luke Poche remained within the heart of the order all summer after strong prep campaigns, with Zimmer leading the way with a .333 batting average.

Two others stepped up to seize starting jobs alongside them. Kameron Keller established himself as the team’s leadoff batter over the second half of the summer, posting a team-high .485 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Dylan Gillies was also impressive, as he knocked in 14 RBIs.

“(Keller) has earned that spot,” said Waguespack. “I like how he performed there. “Weber will probably be at two and we’ll have Luke at five. Gillies at six … one through six is solidified. Seven through nine could be anyone.”

Pitching wise, lefthander Connor Smith (3.23 ERA in 26 innings) and righty Chad McNeil (3.52 in 27) were two that performed well in a rotation that returns largely intact from last prep season.

“I was satisfied (with the team’s pitching). Connor threw well over the last few games. Dave (Bleakley) did okay, Chad threw it well. And Jon Brown looked pretty solid for us.

That’s a newcomer, he’ll be a ninth-grader, and he threw well at the end.”