2021 LHSAA State Tournament - Review
May 18, 2021
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association had not crowned a baseball state champion, in any class, in two full years. That streak finally came to an end this past week, as there were sixteen state champions crowned at the 2021 LHSAA State Tournament at McMurray Park in Sulphur, LA. Over the course of this season, our staff managed to get out to over 50 games this spring, and we added to that total after four straight days of watching teams compete in Sulphur, LA. Below, is a review of the teams and prospects that we were able to lay eyes on.
ROSEPINE WINS FIRST STATE TITLE IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Rosepine was a team that we were "all in" on from the very start of this spring. Led by 2022 C Ethan Frey (LSU Commit) and 2023 SS Jake Smith, who was a standout performer in January at our Northern Louisiana Preseason ID. Their semifinal win over Mangham wasn't an "easy" victory, as the Eagles faced some adversity very early on. After giving up 3 runs in the top of the 1st inning, Rosepine needed to respond and they did in a big way by scoring 5 runs on 6 . Smith and Frey both had singles in the inning, with Frey also collecting a RBI, and Rosepine ended up holding on for the 9-5 win. This set the stage for a state final matchup with #1 Doyle High School. Doyle sent 2021 RHP Andrew Yuratich (Southeastern Louisiana Signee) to the mound and he turned in a masterful performance that, unfortunately, led to a loss. The FB ranged from 82-87 mph, with his four seam sitting in the 85-87 mph range and his two seam in the 82-84 mph range. He located all of his pitches extremely well and was able to add and subtract velocity, on all pitches, to keep hitters timing off balance. The biggest question for Rosepine, coming into this game, was who they were going to send to the mound, and they decided to go with Frey, their everyday catcher. He didn't disappoint either, as he tossed a complete game shutout with 12 K's, earning himself the LHSAA Class 2A State Championship Game Most Valuable Player award.
STERLINGTON REPEATS AS 3A STATE CHAMPIONS
Sterlington High School has become a regular at the state tournament in Sulphur, LA, and they capped of their 2021 season with the 3A state title. The Panthers had to go through the Iowa Yellow Jackets in the semifinal round, in what was practically a home game for Iowa with their fans only having to travel 20 minutes to Sulphur, LA. Sterlington sent 2021 RHP Brandon Brewer (LSU-Eunice Signee) to the mound. His 6'5" 180 lbs. frame oozes projection to go along with an athletic delivery and quick arm. After working around some control issues early on, Brewer settled in and turned in a quality outing for Sterlington, giving up only 4 hits and 2 ER over 6 2/3 IP. FB sat 85-87 mph, topping out at 88 mph. The Panthers defeated Iowa 7-3, which propelled them to the 3A state title game against Lutcher. 2021 Clay Benson came in to pitch in the 3rd inning with 2 outs and came through in a big way for the Panthers. Benson tossed 2 1/3 innings giving up 0 hits and 0 ER, while striking out 3. He not only helped with his arm, but also with his bat, as Benson finished 2-4 on the day and his success caught the attention of several college recruiters. 2021 SS Seaver Sheets (Auburn Signee) was another sparkplug in the Panther lineup, finishing 4-7 with a 2B, 2 R, and 4 RBI in his final state tournament. The Most Valuable Player Award went to 2021 OF Parker Coley (LSU-Eunice Signee) who had a monster state final game by going 3-4 with a HR, R, and 3 RBI.
ST. LOUIS CATHOLIC DEFIES THE ODDS, WINS DIVISON II STATE TITLE
Dealing with hurricanes is apart of everyday life in Louisiana, especially South Louisiana. St. Louis Catholic High School had been faced with road block after road block in 2020 and into 2021. The Saints did not play a home game this season and were often trying to find places to play games and practice, after two hurricanes and a once in a lifetime freeze. Head Coach Matt Fontenot has been determined, since he took over the program, to change the culture and expectations at St, Louis. The team's slogan or motto for this season was "It's Time", and the Saints definitely showed the state that this year was their time to shine. In the semifinal game, they faced Vanderbilt Catholic and 2022 RHP Owen Schexnaydre, one of the state's top uncommitted arms in the junior class. Schexnaydre threw well, but 2021 LHP Parker Morgan (Nicholls State University Signee) was even better. The southpaw lived at 81-84 mph, topping out at 85 mph with his FB and was able to effectively locate in and away from hitters. His 75-78 mph CH was probably his most effective secondary pitch, as he was able to keep his same arm speed and it tunneled well with his FB. The Saints defeated Vanderbilt Catholic 4-1 to advance to the finals where they would meet #1 Parkview Baptist, who had lost only 1 game all year. 2021 RHP Chase Wilson came through big time for St, Louis, tossing 4 innings in relief giving up 0 runs, which earned him the Division II State Championship Game Most Valuable Player Award. Resilience is the word that comes to mind when I think of the 2021 St. Louis baseball team, and it's a great story for all high school baseball teams in the future.
2021 Chase Wilson (St. Louis HS) collects two big K’s with runners on the corners and 1 out to end the Eagles threat. St. Louis leads 5-2 as we head to the 7th inning. #BeSeen@prepbaseball @PBR_Uncommitted pic.twitter.com/EDExmVkMUh— PBR Louisiana (@PBR_Louisiana) May 15, 2021
BARBE FINISHES 39-2, WINS 5A TITLE
Expectations were high coming into the 2021 season for a Barbe team that was unable to defend their 2019 title, and the Bucs definitely lived up to the hype. 2021 RHP Jack Walker (Mississippi State Signee) capped off his high school career with the most dominant performance of his career against district rival Sam Houston in the semifinals. The Mississippi State signee tossed 10 innings of no hit baseball, while striking out 13, as Barbe defeated Sam Houston 1-0, in what will go down as one of the best high school baseball games in Louisiana history. Walker received a deserved standing ovation after he walked off the mound in the 10th inning for the last time in a Barbe uniform. After the emotional win, the Bucs had to refocus quickly to get prepared for #2 West Monroe in the Class 5A State Finals. 2022 RHP Gavin Guidry (LSU Commit) took the mound for the Bucs and after some early control issues, he was able to settle down and turn in another great performance that earned him the Class 5A State Championship Game Most Valuable Player Award. The FB was electric in his first two innings, sitting 88-91 mph, topping out at 92 mph, but it was his "12-6" shaped 74-78 mph CB that was the difference maker for Guidry, as he was able to land it early in counts for strikes and bury it later in counts to put hitters away. He finished the complete game shutout effort with 9 K's. The offensive leaders for the Bucs were 2023 JC Vanek (LSU Commit) who finished with 3 hits and 2021 Kyle Debarge (University of Louisiana Signee) who finished with two hits. Barbe finishes the year 39-2 with Head Coach Glenn Cecchini's 11th state title and they also have a good chance at finishing #1 in the country by one or multiple polls.