Comets, Rebels earn All-State nods
LAPLACE — Seven local athletes were recognized upon the release of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A and 3A baseball and softball teams, with several others selected as honorable mention.
St. Charles Catholic saw Austin Weber and Justin Loupe earn spots on the 3A baseball squad. Riverside’s Mason Vicknair, Tyler Gauthier and Brandon Morris earned spots on the 2A baseball squad, while Lady Rebels Erica Delaneuville and Hailey Tassin were selected to the 2A softball squad.
SCC’s Justin Ory and Zack Roussel and Riverside’s Brandon Hymel were named honorable mention in baseball. Riverside’s Cheyenne Triche and Lexi Johnson, and St. James’ Kiri Parker each earned softball honorable mention.
St. Charles baseball coach Wayne Stein said Weber and Ory earned the honor in a big way this season, helping lead St. Charles to the state quarterfinals.
“It would be difficult to find many guys who had better years than those two,” Stein said.
Weber, a senior, hit .408 while driving in 28 runs this season as he pitched and played second base. He did not strike out once during the season and through the playoffs. On the mound, he went 7-3 with a 2.91 ERA, striking out 51 and walking 17 over 51 innings.
“Year in and year out he’s right there,” Stein said. “Most guys have a slump at some point, and he never did. He’s a great kid and a great team guy. In this day and age, when you get a kid like Austin Weber, it’s a true pleasure as a coach.”
Loupe, a junior outfielder, broke out with a .438 batting average and 37 RBIs in his first season as a starter. He began the season hitting seventh before ascending to the three hole.
“He goes 100 miles per hour every time out,” Stein said. “When you talk about a guy driving in 37 runs, that’s unheard of, especially considering where he began the year in our lineup. You kept waiting for him to maybe cool off, and at some point you just realized this is who he is.
“It’s really rare for a guy to go from the bench one year to having the kind of season Justin had. It’s a credit to him and the work he put in.
Vicknair, Gauthier and Morris were part of a core that spurred Riverside to the 2A quarterfinals.
“I’m very happy for those boys and it’s certainly well-deserved,” Riverside coach Frank Cazeaux said. “Whenever you’ve got guys like that, you hope to see them recognized for it, and I’m really pleased to see them receive some accolades.”
A sophomore shortstop and pitcher, Vicknair was a known quantity to opposing teams this season after a dominant freshman campaign but he still delivered in a big way with a.403 batting average, 3 home runs, 25 RBIs and 29 runs scored. He also recorded 12 extra base hits to go with an eye-popping .577 on-base percentage.
“I’ve seen a lot of kids Mason’s age who slow down and peter out,” Cazeaux said. “But Mason is just going to get a lot better. He works really hard and brings his lunchpail to work every day. He isn’t looking for anything free. He’s proven himself to me. He’s a true baseball player.”
Gauthier, a junior centerfielder, was moved into the team’s leadoff spot a few games into the season and delivered another strong campaign in that role, hitting .377 with a .566 on-base percentage and scoring 32 runs.
“He’s an outstanding football player, a great soccer player, very good in track and obviously you see the success in baseball,” Cazeaux said. “He’s a great example of why I encourage all of our players to play multiple sports. Playing other sports keeps his wheels turning, and what he does in those sports makes him better in baseball and vice versa.”
Morris, a junior catcher, hit .371 and drove in 30 runs with eight extra base hits and a .505 on-base percentage.
“Brandon’s very, very coachable,” Cazeaux said. “He was raw, but the more he played, the better he got. He has a great arm for a catcher and some pop in his bat. I told him in the beginning if he got into the weight room and applied himself, some really good things could happen for him. And he did a lot of good things for us.”
Tassin and Delaneuville helped lead the Lady Rebels to their fifth consecutive season of reaching at least the state semifinals.
A senior first baseman and pitcher, Tassin hit .500 this season while racking up a 1.446 OPS, 7 home runs, 38 RBIs and 30 runs scored. Pitching for the first time in her prep career, she compiled a 2.05 ERA to go along with a 4-3 record, and her fielding percentage was perfect.
“She’s got something within her that you can’t coach,” Riverside coach Tamra Regalo said. “She’s always been a vocal girl out there, she’d cut up and joke around and keep things light. We asked her to be a little more serious, and she really responded. Everything we asked and said, ‘This is what we need you to do,’ she committed 100 percent to. We didn’t know until mid-season she had just hit one home run the previous year. We were shocked, because all we’d ever seen from Hailey is a girl with a big swing.”
Delaneuville, a senior shortstop, batted .478 to go with a 1.524 OPS, 29 RBIs, 29 runs scored and 5 home runs. The production came despite beginning the season sidelined with a hand injury.
“We expected a lot out of Erica and she really delivered,” Regalo said. “I think there was an adjustment at first, for her, just because she was so close with (former Riverside coach Kristy Hebert), and we were new.
“But she really worked her butt off and as the year went on, she was one of our biggest leaders. By the time we got to the state tournament, she was really on fire. She’s a really strong, athletic kid, and I’m excited to see what she does at LSU-Eunice.”