Luling native Nathan Southard made the jump this week that few, if any, ever get to make. The St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the Major League Baseball Draft. Although he was selected in the 17th round of the draft, Southard's prowess at Tulane University proved more than adequate to make the large leap to the pros.
"I excepted that I had good chance to get drafted," said Southard. "I'm very happy, and it truly is a dream come true; it's the day that I've been waiting for for a long time," adding that his family, friends and God were instrumental in helping reach his goal.
Southard was a vital part of Green Wave, helping them reach the regional for the second season in a row, where the Tulane eventually lost to regional host, Ole Miss. Even with the loss, Southard reflected fondly on his time at Tulane.
While Southard enjoyed his time at Tulane, his coach was equally appreciative of Nathan: "I don't know if I've coached a finer young man," said Tulane Coach Rick Jones. "His work ethic and team-orientation have been at 100 percent for the four years he played at Tulane."
Starting every season with Green Wave, Southard finished his career with an excellent 321. batting average and slugging percentage of .510.
"He is tremendously respected by his fellow teammates. He is a fan favorite and an outstanding student, a dean list student," said Jones, adding that Southard will be sorely missed in centerfield for the Green Wave.
In addition to a great bat at the plate, Southard made a name for himself on the defensive end of game, playing for two seasons in centerfield for the Green Wave. "This young man is as well-rounded at the highest level that you'll ever find," said Jones, calling him one of premier outfielders in the country. "He's fearless," said Jones.
On a local level, his father, Steve, coached Nathan throughout his little league years in St. Charles Parish, shaping him into a top-notch player. Southard went on to play high school ball at Archbishop Rummel High School, where he played under former Hahnville coach, Frank Cazeux. "I loved playing at the east bank and west bank bridge parks," said Southard.
Southard will play in the New York-Penn League for the State College Spikes.
|For 4 seasons, Southard led the Tulane Green Wave, on and off the field.|