Destrehan baseball reloads with 13 returning lettermen
The Wildcats bid farewell to nine lettermen last season, but are reloading with 13 returning lettermen and several others who return to the team after a year’s hiatus.
“An outstanding summer season gives us high hopes fro the 2009 prep season,” said Luquet. “We have several pitchers we should be able to count on, and I think that we will put a very good defensive team on the field. Our hitting needs to pick up where it left off during the summer.”
Several DHS juniors and seniors will emerge this season as key players.
Senior right-hander Hunter Tyree and senior southpaw Joshua Rochelle - two of the area’s top pitchers - will lead the deep pitching staff which features 6-3 junior right-hander Kurt McCune, senior right-hander Jonathan Payne and senior left-hander Joey Saltaformaggio.
“Hunter (Tyree) has the potential to be an outstanding pitcher. This will be the third year he will be a starter in our pitching rotation,” said Luquet. “He has shown the ability to pitch well and win in big games. We need him to produce in the middle of our batting order for us to be successful. We are expecting a great senior year from him.”
Tyree was 5-0 with a 2.27 earned run average during the 2008 American Legion season for Valero-St. Charles. The Destrehan-based team compiled a 29-4 record, 12-1 in district play to win the second district title.
Rochelle entertained a 6-1 record with a 2.76 ERA during the 2008 prep season, which ended with a hard-fought bi-district playoff loss to Rummel and a 21-16 overall record.
Senior Andrew Suffrin surfaced as the second baseman during the summer after finishing the 2008 season as the third-base starter. He was one of the team’s top hitters during the summer with a .410 average.
“Andrew is the classic program player. He had the opportunity to get bigger and stronger. Then last year when he got the chance to play, he performed well and did everything we asked him to do,” said Luquet. “Once he got comfortable in the line up and on the field, he swung the bat aggressively and played solid defense. He has really progressed.”
Junior shortstop Sam Carriere has come forward as the team’s leader. He is expected to be on the best players at his position the next two seasons and solidifies the team defensively. His average for last season was .454 and will hit in the top third of his batting order.
“Sam (Carriere) is the next generation of great shortstops at Destrehan High School,” said Luquet. “We are very fortunate to have a defensive shortstop of his caliber.”
Second team 6-5A All-District performer Shaine Babineaux stood out last season with a .304 average and a high on-base percentage and is an outstanding defensive leader.
“Shaine (Babineaux) should be one of the best defensive right fielders we’ve ever had at Destrehan,” added Luquet. “He hit four home runs as a junior hitting down the line up.”
Junior third basemen Matt Smith returned to the team during the summer where he batted .394 after missing the 2008 prep season.
“Matt’s (Smith) return this year will make us better,” said Luquet. “There will be a place on the out field for him. He is a tremendous athlete with great instincts on the field and on the bases. He hit almost .400 and played great defense during the summer.”
Juniors Seth Montz and Scott Stonestreet are predicted to provide quality depth in the infield, at second and third bases.
“Scott (Stonestreet) played well when he had the opportunity to play this past summer,” said Luquet. “And Seth brings a lot of things to the table that you would expect from a coach’s son. We can bring him into spell guys and do things like get a bunt down.”Stephen Richardson Memorial Tournament
Destrehan lost to Ruston, 7-5, Friday evening in the Stephen Richardson Memorial Tournament at Catholic High School of Baton Rouge.
Ruston hitters walked to lead off the inning in four of the seven innings and all later scored. Destrehan took a 2-0 first inning lead as Sam Carriere and Patrick Roth were both hit by pitches. Carriere and Roth's courtesy runner, Evan Fremin, both eventually scored on wild pitches.
Ruston tied the score, 2-2, in the second inning. The lead-off batter, Kelby Langston, walked and Nick Rome was hit by a pitch. Both later scored, Langston on a throwing error and Rome on a ground ball out.
The Bearcats took the lead in the third, 4-2, on a walk, two bunt singles, and two sacrifice fly outs. They added to the lead in the fifth with a single run on a RBI single by Langston after a lead-off walk.
Ruston built a 7-2 cushion in the sixth with two runs on two walks and a two-run single by Chase Patterson.
The Fighting Wildcats battled back, scoring three runs and loading the bases in the sixth. Kurt McCune had an RBI single and Shaine Babineaux drove home two runs with a double. Rome came on in relief for Ruston to get a pop fly out and a strikeout to end the Wildcat rally.
Hunter Tyree (0-1) took the loss for the Wildcats, pitching 5 innings and allowing 6 runs, 3 hits, and 5 walks.
Destrehan was limited to four hits in the game -- Babineaux's double and singles by McCune, Joshua Rochelle, and Andrew Suffrin.
Central entered the final day of the Stephen Richardson Memorial Tournament with a perfect record and a top five pre-season ranking. The Wildcats of Baton Rouge left Johnny Ambeau Park at East Ascension with their first blemish, a 7-7 tie to the Destrehan Fighting Wildcats.
Destrehan faced the unenviable task of opposing Central ace Cade Leblanc, generally regarded as one of the top pitchers in the state. But the big left-hander struggled with control problems and left after only one inning. Destrehan took advantage, scoring three runs, on four walks, including two bases-loaded passes, to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first after girting Central two unearned runs on three errors in the top half.
The Fighting Wildcats added a run in the second when Shaine Babineaux doubled and later scored on a throwing error by Central third baseman Landon Thibodeaux.
In the fourth, Central scored two runs after two were out to knot the score at 4. Austin Bourke was hit by a pitch and then Justin Creel, Thibodaux, and M.J. Leduff hit consecutive singles to plate the two runs. Dylan Lucich came on in relief of Jonathan Payne for Destrehan and got a one-pitch out. In the bottom half of the fourth, Kurt McCune smacked an RBI double to once again give Destrehan the lead, 5-4.
Central scored two more in the fifth to lead 6-5. After a lead-off walk, Justin Schopp and Jacob Lesage connected for RBI singles. The Fighting Wildcats got a single run in the fifth on Sam Carriere's RBI single to even the score, 6-6.
Central made it 7-6 in the sixth. After back-to-back walks to start the sixth and a sacrifice bunt, Thibodeaux scored on a ground ball out. Hunter Tyree came on in relief of Lucich and did an outstanding job, retiring all nine batters he faced.
In the bottom of the sixth, McCune's double and Joshua Rochelle's RBI single forged Destrehan into the 7-7 tie. The Fighting Wildcats had their chances in the sixth and seventh to plate the winning run but those opportunities were lost by the inability to advance runners with a bunt.
For Destrehan, McCune had two doubles and an RBI, Rochelle had two singles and an RBI, and Babineaux scored three runs.
Destrehan's next outing will be in the Bayou State Prep Classic March 5-7 in Monroe.
Editor’s Note: Information and statistics for this article were compiled from the 2009 Destrehan Wildcats Baseball Guide and from www.hometeamsonline.com/destrehanwildcats.
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