Mason Vicknair reaps rewards of baseball focus

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mason Vicknair is a rarity at Riverside Academy.

In a school where nearly every athlete celebrates each season by playing one sport after the other, Vicknair stands out.

He is a baseball player. Just a baseball player.

Oh, it’s not like he couldn’t play football or basketball or run track if he wanted to.

After all, he is a 6-foot-3 strapping young man who would be welcomed by any basketball, football or track coach. Even the soccer coach might like him.

Vicknair did play those other sports for a while.

“Coming up in elementary and middle school I pretty much played every sport,” he said.

But he only loved baseball.

“I just fell in love with baseball,” he said. “I started in tee ball and never stopped.”

In the spring of his freshman year, Vicknair decided he had enough of those other games.

“Football is a game you really have to love to play,” he said.

“And I just wasn’t happy out there. So, I gave up football. I went and talked to Coach (Bill) Stubbs and told him. He wasn’t too happy about it.”

Nor did it sit well with Mason’s dad, Matt, who was a standout lineman at East St. John High back in the day and went on to play center at Nicholls State for a few years.

“It bothered me at first,” Matt said. “But he said, ‘Dad. I love baseball.’”

Even his grandpa knows it.

“It’s all he ever wanted to do,” said James Ladner.

Riverside baseball coach Frank Cazeaux was happy to let him do it.

Not only is Vicknair the team’s leading hitter at .412 with six home runs and 22 RBIs, he also is 2-2 with a 1.56 earned run average with 23 strikeouts.

He was a leading pitcher on last year’s team, which advanced to the Class 2A semifinals. He was so good he was named the All-State Class 2A Player of the Year.

Finally, though, baseball is loving Vicknair back.

On March 29, Vicknair celebrated his 19th birthday with a small party in the Riverside conference room.

Delgado baseball coach Joe Scheuermann even  braved a rainstorm to bring the gift of scholarship papers.

Surrounded by his loved ones, Matt and Mason both put pen to paper — in triplicate — to seal the youngster’s future.

“It’s just a special day knowing I get to play baseball on the next level and have another opportunity,” he said. “I can’t wait. I need to focus on doing all the little things right here in high school and try to achieve our one goal, which is to win a state championship.”

The Rebels must get through this week first and a pair of games against arch-rival St. Charles.

The teams meet at 4 p.m. today at St. Charles Catholic and at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Riverside.

Vicknair said he had other opportunities. Cazeaux hinted that there might even be a major league draft number in the young man’s future.

Delgado just felt like the right fit.

“You want to get the best players in the area and he’s one of the best players in the state, much less our area,” Scheuermann said.

“We’re excited about getting the caliber of player he is. Obviously, he can be a two-way player for us. We’re planning on him being a third baseman and pitcher for us.”

Vicknair is especially looking forward to playing with former Comets shortstop Justin Ory, who signed with Delgado last year, among others.

“I’ve been playing with all the St. Charles kids forever,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to having another opportunity. Nothing’s given to you. You have to go work for it.”

Lori Lyons is sports editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or