With the 2013-14 school year at a close and area seniors having played their last game of high school athletics, Saturday’s HTV Friday Night Sports High School Baseball Classic presented by TGMC Community Sports Institute at Southland Field in Houma was a goodbye of sorts.
For the 32 area baseball players who were selected to play in Saturday’s games, the event served as one last chance to get together as high school athletes and just play ball.
The players who participated were divided into two groups. One consisted of players from area Class 5A schools: Central Lafourche, H.L. Bourgeois, South Lafourche, Terrebonne and Thibodaux. The other was comprised of players from Class 1A through 4A: Assumption, Covenant Christian, E.D. White Catholic, Ellender, South Terrebonne and Vandebilt Catholic.
The teams played two contests, with the Class 5A squad winning each game, 6-5, respectively. It was the first time in the event’s six-year history that one team swept the doubleheader.
In the first game, the 5A All-Stars built a 6-0 lead before the 4-3-1A All-Stars mounted a furious comeback attempt in their last at-bat only to fall short.
The second game was a seesaw affair. The Class 5A All-Stars broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning by pushing across two runs against E.D. White pitcher Brennan Legendre, the first on an RBI double from Central Lafourche’s Benton Pierce and then a run-scoring infield single from South Lafourche’s Cy Griffin.
Earlier in the game, Thibodaux’s Garrett Malaison and E.D. White Catholic’s Scottie Sanders each hit home runs for their respective teams.
Terrebonne coach Gus Brown said the 5A squad felt a sense of pride after winning both games.
“I don’t think any of them made the playoffs, and probably 80 to 90 percent on the other side made the playoffs, so it was good for the 5A schools to get a couple of wins,” Brown said.
Wesley Lassere, a pitcher and infielder from Thibodaux High, said the fact that none of his teammates reached the postseason this past year gave his team some added motivation.
“It pushed us to show that (local 5A schools) are still a dominant group,” Lassere said. “We knew that (the other team) was kind of big-headed and that made us push a little more.”
Still, Saturday’s event was mostly about having fun. Regardless of who won, the players said it was an honor just to be chosen for the event.
“It was good to meet new personalities and get to know them because we’ve been playing against each other since our freshmen years,” said Sanders. “Just getting to know them was a good experience. (The game) was about making some really good memories. Just come out and have fun for your last game because not every player gets to do this.”
Lassere said it was interesting to play with players he’d been competing against over the years and said his teammates quickly bonded.
“It wasn’t really awkward because the team we had was full of a bunch of great guys with positive attitudes,” he said. “They were all nice and treated each other with respect.”
South Terrebonne coach Sham Gabehart, one of the coaches for the Class 4-3-1A team, admitted it was nice to watch the players interact with each other – many of them for the first time.
“Any time you get a group together, it’s fun to watch guys start the day a little uncomfortable, and then as they spend more time together, they get comfortable,” he said.
While some of the players who participated in Saturday’s game such as Sanders (a Southeastern Louisiana commit) will go on to play at the next level, many others will not.
Gabehart recalled how he felt years ago once he realized he had played his final game of high school ball and likened it to the feeling many of the players at this year’s All-Star event will have.
“Honestly, it’s one of those things where you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” Gabeheart said. “When I was a kid and I graduated, I missed it, but I didn’t (really) miss it until I didn’t have it because you just stay in the grind all the time. I think it will mean more to them down the road.”
The players on the Class 5A roster included: Thibodaux’s Dane Adams, Wesley Lassere and Garrett Molaison, H.L. Bourgeois’ Nicholas Bonvillain, South Lafourche’s Cy Griffin, J.J. Jimenez, Holden Landry, Cullen Matherne and Dominic Pitre, Central Lafourche’s Bryce Guidry, Benton Pierce, Colin Richard and Mason Sontoyo, and Terrebonne’s Matthew Hebert, Quinn Malbrough and Xavier Washington.
Players from the Class 4-3-1A roster included: Ellender’s Dylan Billiot, Dylan Boudreaux and Matthew Ledet, South Terrebonne’s Joey Brunet and Blake Pellegrin, Covenant Christian’s Zack Folmar, Seth Gros, Bryce Lafont and Caleb Ledet, E.D. White Catholic’s Spencer Folse, Seth Gravois, Brennan Legendre, and Scott Sanders, Assumption’s Shane Hernandez, Hudson Rodrigue, Drake Vedros.