Prep Baseball Report

2023 Team Preview: Live Oak 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: Live Oak High School

-Coach’s Name: Jesse Cassard

-ClassificationClass 5A (Non-Select Division I)

-District: 5-5A

-No. of Returning Positional Starters: 6

-No. of Returning Pitchers5

-Team Strengths: Pitching Depth

-Top Returning Players: 2023 LHP Hunter Owens (Meridian Community College commit), 2023 RHP Braxton Demopulos (Holmes Community College commit), 2023 UTIL Cameran Christ (Galveston Community College commit), 2023 OF Hayden Everett, 2023 UTIL Lane Lusk, 2023 3B Logan Coley, 2024 RHP Michael Stephens, 2025 C Cooper Smith (Louisiana Tech commit), 2025 SS Brock Davis

-Top 2023 Prospects: 2023 LHP Hunter Owens (Meridian Community College commit)2023 RHP Braxton Demopulos (Holmes Community College commit)2023 UTIL Cameran Christ (Galveston Community College commit)2023 OF Hayden Everett2023 UTIL Lane Lusk2023 3B Logan Coley

-Top 2024 Prospects: 2024 RHP Michael Stephens, 2024 RHP Jacob Galloway, 2024 1B/C Kenny Berard

-Top 2025 Prospects: 2025 C Cooper Smith (Louisiana Tech commit)2025 RHP Jude Weller (Tulane commit)2025 SS Brock Davis2025 OF/LHP Cal Cassard2025 RHP Trevor Hodges2025 OF/RHP Taylor Cotaya, 2025 RHP Sawyer Pruitt



Team Outlook

Live Oak finished the 2022 season with a 30-11 record that included big wins over the likes of John Curtis, Parkview Baptist, and a season sweep of district foe Central BR.  The Eagles season ended in the second round of the playoffs against St. Amant, who ended up finishing as the state runner-up to eventual champion West Monroe.  The good news for Head Coach Jesse Cassard, is that Live Oak returns a lot of young players from last year's team, and those trials and tribulations from 2022 should only help the Eagles chances this coming spring.  On the mound, Coach Cassard will have to replace LHP Tanner Roberts, who is now at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, and he's got a couple of guys who are more than capable.  Senior LHP Hunter Owens, who was a member of our Southeast Senior Games team this past summer, is one option at the top of the list for the Eagles.  The Meridian Community College commit works his FB in the mid 80's and comes from a lower 3/4 slot, with good arm-side sink and run.  He pairs it well with a 73-75 mph sweeping SL and can kill spin with a 73-74 mph CH.  Senior RHP Braxton Demopulos has an imposing and physical presence on the mound standing in at 6'4" 205 lbs.  The Holmes Community College commit is an aggressive mover down the slope with a quick arm action.  He worked his FB in the upper-80's this past fall at our Senior Games, however, we received reports that he's started to touch the low-90's.  In our look, he was a bit erratic with his control, but there is no denying the arm talent that is there.  Senior Cameran Christ, who has become sort of a "super utility" over the last couple of the years for the Eagles, also finds himself in the mix on the mound as well.  A consummate strike thrower, Christ can locate his 85-87 mph FB to all four quadrants, and has feel for a low-70's CB with good spin, as well as a late fading CH.  Sophomore RHP Jude Weller, a 2021 Jr. Future Games team member and Tulane commit, attended our State Games this fall, where he turned in arguably the best pitching performance of the day.  Weller worked 84-86 mph with his FB, while showing aptitude for spin with a mid-70's CB, and really good feel for a sinking low-mid 70's CH, which has always been one of his go-to pitches.  Others who should see valuable mound time this season include juniors Michael Stephens (mid-upper 80's FB) and Jacob Galloway (mid-upper 80's FB), as well as sophomores Cal Cassard (lefty specialist), Trevor Hodges (athletic RHP with a high spin CB), Taylor Cotaya (live arm, low-mid 80's FB), and Sawyer Pruitt, who may have the most upside with a 6'6" frame and a 86-87 mph FB.  Offensively, Live Oak's biggest loss is replacing OF Reid Broussard, who is now at Northwest Florida, but the Eagles have some healthy competition going on right now and feel good about their options.  Senior Hayden Everett has good bat to ball skills and is a reliable defender.  Senior Cameran Christ, as we mentioned above, has done a little bit of everything for the Eagles during his career and will probably see time in the OF, but has also played caught and played some infield during his career.  Junior Michael Stephens is an athletic two-way guy who should see time in a corner OF spot.  Sophomores Cal Cassard and Taylor Cotaya should also factor into the outfield as well.  Cassard, a LHH, was a 2021 Jr. Future Gamer who has always been on-base machine.  Cotaya is a long, lean, and athletic LHH OF who can really run.  Moving on to the infield, the Eagles return some staples in their lineup from last season.  Senior Lane Lusk, who can also play OF, has been working at 2B and is the type of guy that could see a breakout senior campaign, much like Renton Childers did last season for Live Oak.  Lusk was another member of our SE Senior Games team, along with senior Logan Coley, who projects to be the 3B.  Coley is a strong RHH with bat speed, as he recorded a max exit velocity of 95 mph at our SE Senior Games.  Junior Kenny Berard has had a nice fall at 1B for Live Oak and rounding out the infield are two of the top ten sophomore prospects in the state in SS Brock Davis and C Cooper Smith.  Davis, a slick fielding MIF, with an advanced understanding of infield play, has gained strength over the summer and fall, which should really help bolster his game this season.  Smith, a Louisiana Tech commit, has long been known as one of the better backstop's in the state and should take a big leap forward this year, now that he has a year of playing at the varsity level under his belt.  District 5-5A will be another competitive league this season with the likes of Zachary and Central BR, as well as Denham Springs and Walker, all of whom are in the mix year in and year out.  Coach Cassard and his team's always seem to find a way to manufacture and score runs and this year's team should be no different, so as long as the pitching staff pounds the zone and executes pitches, which they should with the staff in place, the Eagles should be right in the mix of things year in the Non-Select Division I playoffs.  


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Upcoming Events

Baton Rouge Preseason ID 1/14/23 Zachary Youth Park (Zachary, LA) 
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