2023 Team Preview: Catholic (BR) High School

Alex Armand
Louisiana Scouting Director

The 2023 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, our staff is excited for the upcoming spring season.  Players and coaches have been working all fall and through December, in preparation for the upcoming season and as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across Louisiana.

Programs across the state have goals and aspirations to finish the year in Sulphur, LA at the LHSAA State Tournament, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes a reality.  We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams and players across the state, as we preview many of the great programs from Louisiana.  We will take you right up to the first pitch of this season with these team previews and we'll continue providing coverage throughout the spring. 

Please keep checking back throughout the season, as we strive to be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across Louisiana.  Each week we will release our players of the week, as well as our Power 25 Rankings, which encompasses the top 25 teams in the state, regardless of class.  

*Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.  If you did not receive a questionnaire and would like to fill one out, please send an email to [email protected]

-High School Name: Catholic (BR) High School

-Coach’s Name: Brad Bass

-ClassificationClass 5A (Select Division I)

-District: 4-5A

-No. of Returning Positional Starters: 8

-No. of Returning Pitchers8

-Team Strengths: Pitching Depth and Roster Experience

-Top Returning Players: 2023 C Clayton Pourciau (University of Louisiana signee), 2023 1B/LHP Prescott Marsh (Loyola-New Orleans commit), 2023 LHP/OF Harrison Waghalter (Southeastern Louisiana signee), 2023 RHP/INF Cole Cranford (Tulane signee), 2023 RHP Alex Ainsworth (Tulane signee), 2023 OF Daniel Harden, 2024 INF/RHP Trip Dobson (University of Houston commit), 2024 RHP William Schmidt (Mississippi State commit), 2024 RHP Grant Breaux (Louisiana State University commit), 2025 INF/RHP Jack Ruckert (Louisiana State University commit)

-Top 2023 Prospects: 2023 C Clayton Pourciau (University of Louisiana signee)2023 1B/LHP Prescott Marsh (Loyola-New Orleans commit)2023 LHP/OF Harrison Waghalter (Southeastern Louisiana signee), 2023 RHP/INF Cole Cranford (Tulane signee)2023 RHP Alex Ainsworth (Tulane signee)2023 LHP Michael Sutton (Mississippi College commit), 2023 OF Daniel Harden

-Top 2024 Prospects: 2024 INF/RHP Trip Dobson (University of Houston commit)2024 RHP William Schmidt (Mississippi State commit)2024 RHP Grant Breaux (Louisiana State University commit), 2024 OF Brooks Wright (University of Houston commit), 2024 RHP Ryder Loup, 2024 LHP/OF Wyatt Chenevert2024 RHP Beau Allen

-Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects: 2025 INF/RHP Jack Ruckert (Louisiana State University commit)2025 INF/RHP Carter Guillory2025 UTIL Andrew Clapinski2025 OF Noah Lewis2026 INF/RHP Mills Richardson2026 LHP Lucas Lawrence2026 RHP/OF Hayes Segar



Team Outlook

If you read our 2022 team preview on Catholic, then you knew that we were really high on the Bears heading into last season and they delivered on our expectations.  Catholic finished last season with an overall record of 31-7, winning another state championship, after defeating John Curtis by a score of 4-1 in the title game.  The good news for Head Coach Brad Bass and the Catholic faithful, is that this year's team returns nearly everyone from last year, so the Bears will once again be a force to be reckoned with in Louisiana.  Currently, in total, Catholic has 11 players committed to play at the next level, and there's more who will announce their college commitment over the coming months and years.  On the mound, Coach Bass and Pitching Coach Tyler Naquin, have a plethora of arms at their disposal this season.  Starting with the senior class, the Bears return LHP Harrison Waghalter, LHP Michael Sutton, LHP Prescott Marsh, and RHP's Alex Ainsworth and Cole Cranford, both of whom are Tulane recruits.  Waghalter compiled a 8-1 record last spring with a 1.30 ERA across 52 IP.  The Southeastern Louisiana recruit had his biggest outing of last season in the semifinals against Jesuit, where he finished allowing only 3 hits over 6 IP with 7 K's.  Marsh went a perfect 6-0 on the mound last year with a 2.80 ERA and was named the District MVP.  He also swung the bat really well, which we'll talk about more below.  The junior class has plenty of talent and options on the mound as well, with guys like RHP's William Schmidt, Grant Breaux, and Trip Dobson.  Schmidt only logged 16.2 innings last season and finished with a 3.30 ERA.  The Mississippi State recruit has made big strides in the weight room this off-season and has the potential to have a breakout year for the Bears, as he's already been into the low-90's over the fall with a devastating top to bottom breaking ball with spin rates consistently in the 2800-3000 RPM range.  Breaux, a LSU recruit, is another projectable right-handed hurler with a FB that has been up to 90-91 mph this fall, and Dobson, a Houston recruit, only logged 8 innings last spring with a 1.19 ERA in a closer role for the Bears.  Dobson has been up to 89 mph recently and creates a tough look for hitters, as he creates some "cross-fire" action and releases the ball from a low 3/4 slot.  Junior RHP Ryder Loup is coming back from an injury and has had a nice fall for Catholic, running his FB into the mid-80's to go along with a sharp "12-6" shaped breaking ball.  A couple of other juniors that are vying for mound time include RHP Beau Allen and LHP Wyatt Chenevert.  Offensively, the Bears have a lot of talent coming back to the diamond and it all starts with their "Field General" behind the plate in senior C Clayton Pourciau.  The University of Louisiana recruit hit .330 last spring with 2 HR, 10 2B, and 27 RBI.  Waghalter, who we mentioned above, is also in line to contribute in the outfield.  Fellow senior Daniel Harden is one of the state's top uncommitted prospects in the 2023 class and will also roam the outfield for the Bears this spring.  The 6'2" 185 lbs. left-handed hitter drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in last year's state title game.  Junior Brooks Wright has been on a steady rise since we saw him early last summer and he's another option in the outfield for Coach Bass this season.  Wright, a Houston recruit, is an  exceptional runner (6.49 in the 60) with a smooth left-handed stroke.  A young guy to keep an eye on in the outfield is sophomore Noah Lewis.  He's an ultra-projectable, 6'2" 185 lbs. right-handed hitter with real speed (6.57 in the 60).  At first base, Marsh is back after hitting .434 with a HR, 9 2B, and 35 RBI last spring.  It's still a little too early to tell how the rest of the infield will shake out, with a lot of guys still competing for jobs, but there are some returners from last year who performed and should be in the lineup one way or another.  Dobson hit .378 last spring with 9 2B, 3 3B, and 25 RBI.  His positional versatility is something that is an advantage for the Bears, as he played 3B, 1B, and OF last season and finished the year with a 963 FLD%.  Senior Cole Cranford, a Tulane recruit, is back again this season and can play all three of the infield spots, as can sophomore Jack Ruckert.  The LSU recruit saw some varsity action last spring and is another versatile left-handed hitting infielder who can play all three infield spots.  Ruckert may very well factor into the bullpen this season as well.  Keep an eye out for sophomore Andrew Clapinski too.  He's a true utility guy, that can fill voids nearly anywhere on the diamond and he's also been swinging the bat really well this off-season.  Seniors Seth Fontenot and Landon Juneau are two veterans, who both have a shot to help the team both offensively and on the mound.  Sophomore Carter Guillory is another bright young prospect battling for playing time as an underclassman, and he's had a nice off-season for the Bears offensively and on the mound.  Who stands in the way of the Bears repeating as state champions?  They'll have to battle with the usual suspects on the select side of the playoffs with the likes of Rummel, Brother Martin, Jesuit, and John Curtis all returning solid teams.  In saying that, the fire-power on this Catholic team, especially on the mound, might just be too much to handle this year.  If the Bears stay focused on their goals, the guys in their locker room, and can block out any outside distractions, then they have a good chance at holding up another state championship trophy this season.


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