Improved Riverside Academy baseball team optimistic about 2022 season

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

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RESERVE — Every baseball program in the River Parishes is playing behind the eight ball, scrambling to get facilities back in order in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

The Riverside Academy baseball team is off to a strong start despite the circumstances, and head coach Marty Luquet feels optimistic about the remainder of the season. The Rebels entered the week with a 5-5 record after collecting four consecutive wins last week, including a shutout against De La Salle.

Luquet said the Rebels had three great performances in a row, striking out 10 batters each game to take the pressure off the defense. The offense also performed well and managed to produce runs in a variety of different ways.

Four of the early season losses came from the WGNO tournament, which featured tough competition from 5A schools in New Orleans.

“Other than that, we’ve played very well,” Luquet said. “Our schedule was front loaded. Our toughest two weeks are now behind us. That’s what makes the rest of the schedule encouraging. When we look at the remaining 20 games, we think we have a chance to win every one of them. That wasn’t always the case in the past.”

The Rebels had a stronger season start this year compared to the previous two seasons. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short and left Riverside with a 3-7 record. In 2021, the team went 9-21 and lost to a top-ranked team in the first round of play-offs.

This year, the Rebels are bigger and stronger. The team is guided by a stellar coaching staff, including pitching coach Bill Calhoun, who has helped Riverside become more consistent on the mound.

“We believe we’ve turned the corner, and we’re back to being a quality baseball team again,” Luquet said. “We paid for playing with younger guys, and now we’re starting to reap those rewards.”

Luquet is counting on pitchers Luke Hymel and Dakota Jarreau to pull the Rebels through the middle stretch of the season.

Also stepping up to the pitcher’s mound are middle school players Cruz Cambre, Ayden Bullock and Brody Vicknair.

Leading hitter Dane Delaneuville is batting a solid .400. He’s followed by Hymel, the second leading hitter with a .385 batting average. Both boys are leading the team in RBIs with nine apiece. According to Luquet, the Rebels are also getting some offensive help from Wayne Hymel.