Legion ball is a hit
Local talent hone skills amid the summer sun
By Michael Luke -
Jun 08, 2006
|Photo by Michael Luke
|Caleb Madere takes a heavy cut at the ball.
Although area high schools have recently let out and ending the baseball seasons for the Hahnville and Destrehan, summer is baseball is in full swing, as American Legion Baseball kicks off this week in St. Charles Parish.
As a result, the ball fields at both high schools have not grown silent as the sweltering summer temperature rises.
Both Destrehan and Hahnville use the highly competitive games as a chance to let the younger players - freshman, sophomores and juniors - get ready and experience stiff competition.
Summer ball is a vital part of learning by getting precious time at the plate and fielding situations that younger boys haven't seen, especially against highly skilled talent from adjacent parishes. In fact, at times, these young men will be facing college players.
Under the sponsorship of Valero, Destrehan's squad is under the tutelage of the high school skipper, Marty Luquet.
Luquet, who led the Wildcats to another state playoff appearance, enjoys the challenges of legion ball.
"I don't think that it has the intensity that school ball has, as it lacks the big crowds and students. But we still approach it seriously. The guys are going to get out there and compete. That end of the game is the same," said Luquet.
While Destrehan uses the summer games as a chance to prepare for next season, not all of the other teams approach legion ball the same way. "The Rummels, the Shaws, they bring college guys back and their seniors back. We don't do that. This is next year's team," said Luquet.
Hahnville uses a similar approach, but does let some of the seniors comeback and play.
"These kids might be facing college players one day and freshman the next; it's a hodgepodge of players, with different coaches using it for different reasons," said Luquet.
In second district legion, teams come from Jefferson, Chalmette, Belle Chasse. The top team according Luquet is defending champion, Rummel, which returned most of last year's squad.