Tarpons hire Ravaglia to lead baseball program
South Lafourche High School has its new baseball coach.
He said he hopes to work tirelessly in the coming months to build the program into an annual championship contender – something the team hasn’t been in a long time.
The Tarpons hired Andrew Ravaglia to run its program last week – ending a multi-month search to find a replacement for former coach Jacob Midyett, who left the team after the 2017 season to take a head football coaching position at his alma mater in Arkansas.
Ravaglia lands in Galliano after a season at Jennings, coaching the Bulldogs to a 7-21 record in his only year with the school.
Before his time at Jennings, Ravaglia had a successful run at Lakeshore High School, posting a 43-44 in three years, taking the team to the playoffs every year, including a district title.
Ravaglia, a New Orleans native, also spent time in the college ranks, coaching at the University of Dallas and at the University of Texas at Tyler.
“South Lafourche is a really tight-knit community,” Ravaglia said. “That’s known all over the state. For me, I’m excited to be a part of that. When I interviewed for the job, I met with the school’s search committee and they were all just so awesome. They opened their city up to me and showed me how things work. I felt really welcomed and I can’t wait to get started. I know I’m working with some really, really great people.”
Ravaglia is taking over a program that’s on the rise – a team that also has a loaded senior class coming back in 2018.
The Tarpons won 16 games last season under Midyett – the most the program has won in several seasons. The team also advanced to the Class 4A State Playoffs, losing in the opening round to Lakeshore.
But the 2018 team is widely expected to be better, thanks to an 11-player senior class, led by standouts like Austin Cantrelle, Kasey Guidry, Blake Ougel and Jacob Danos, among others.
Ougel missed most of last season with an injury, but is one of the top returning arms in the area. He owned a 2.57 ERA in 16.1 innings before the injury.
Cantrelle, Guidry and Danos are high-level bats the team will place at the top of its lineup.
Cantrelle hit .408 in distrct play last year with a .554 on-base percentage, while Guidry hit .375.
Danos slumped a little in district games, but was scorching before league play – enough to hit .366 for the season, even with the rough patch late in the year.
Also included in that senior group is Thomas LeBlanc – the only Tarpons player to hit a home run last season.
“We have a really big senior group,” Ravaglia said. “It’s a really talented group, too, from what I’ve been told. There are high expectations here. But I like that situation. I like being expected to win. That keeps everyone working hard. I think what’s also good is we have a lot of really gifted 8th, 9th and 10th graders here. We don’t have too many juniors, but the ones we have are special players. We like the breakdown of the roster here.”
But Ravaglia said he knows there’s a lot of work still yet to be done.
He said he doesn’t have a set style, adding that he will tailor his team based on the personnel he has on a given year.
But one constant will be a commitment to playing the game fast and putting pressure on opponents – a mindset that Ravaglia said will begin through practices.
“We have to practice like we’re a championship team,” Ravaglia said. “My goal here is when someone puts that jersey on, they expect to win – not because of the name on the front of it – but because of the hard work, dedication and effort that was put into this before the game in practice and workouts. We want to build a winning culture and an expectation of being a championship program. Everything we aim to do is based on our expectations of getting to that level.”
In addition to his work with the baseball team, Ravaglia said he will be an assistant coach with the South Lafourche football team, which started its preseason practices this week.
The new coach said he’s in the process of moving to Galliano now, adding that he can’t wait to be a full-time member of the community – an area that he said has already proven special to him.
“The community is unbelievable,” Ravaglia said. “I haven’t gotten a chance to meet everyone yet, but the people that I have gotten to meet so far have been terrific. The welcome is unbelievable. Now, we just want to put in the time to get our program to the level that these people here deserve for it to be.”
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