Culture buy-in fueling Tigers’ success under 1st year coach

Donovan Friloux of Hahnville.

Oubre Memorial tourney starts important run of games for 10-5 Hahnville

For first year Hahnville head baseball coach Jared Vial, his team’s success through 15 games on the diamond is because of what his players are doing off of it.

They’re buying in.

Hahnville moved to 10-5 this season with a decisive 13-0 win Tuesday at home over South Plaquemines. The Tigers jumped out the gate early with four wins in a row to start the season, and just one of their 10 wins have come at home – notably because Hahnville has been on the road and/or at a tournament for 13 of its 15 games thus far this season.

Vial, a Hahnville alum and former Tigers standout player, said his team is playing with a lot of confidence. More importantly, the players take the field with full understanding of what is expected of anyone donning the Hahnville uniform.

“It’s all about mindset, buying into the culture we’re establishing,” Vial said. “What it means to play for Hahnville, what it means to put on that H … them buying in to our process of the day-to-day operations.”

Vial said the culture is about much more than what goes on each game day.

“We need to not only respect Hahnville but also honoring the people who have been here in the past, honoring our community as a whole,” Vial said. “That we’re not overlooking the importance of what it means to be a Tiger.”

Kason Alexander is leading the Tigers offensively. The catcher and Loyola-New Orleans signee is batting .360, tops on the team.

“He’s a college baseball player,” Vial said. “He’s giving us what we expected of him coming in and playing up to his standards. Kason’s a leader for us. He’s consistent and mentally focused … he brings it every day.”

Talan Theriot and Ryan Gregson are also off to strong starts at the plate, Theriot second on the team in average and Gregson leading the squad in RBIs.

But a huge strength through 15 games, Vial said, has been the Tiger pitching staff.

“(Pitching coach David Vial) has done a really good job with our pitchers, and we’ve had the chance to throw a lot of guys and get them that important experience,” Vial said. “It’s kept us in games.”

To establish a culture fully often means banking some culture-building wins – and the team came through with one of those last week as it rallied to defeat host Northshore 6-5.

That was a game Hahnville trailed 5-0 before storming back, led in part by a very strong relief outing by Beau Parker.

“He came in and threw strikes and our offense kind of clicked from there,” Vial said. “It’s big because when you look at that Northshore game, it shows no matter what we aren’t out of it. The kids feed off of each other and most importantly, they’re having fun.”

Tuesday’s win over South Plaquemines saw big efforts from leadoff hitter Truman Moyer (three runs scored, RBI), Chase Morales (two runs, two RBIs) and Gregson (two runs, RBI). The biggest punch came from Theriot, who went 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs and two RBIs as HHS scored a win in five innings by the 10-run rule.

On the mound, Marcus Garcia, Patrick Sander and Donovan Friloux combined for a 2-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and no walks. Garcia earned the win.

The pitching performance was cause for celebration for more reasons than one – it was the first action for Friloux this season and first active competition of any kind since he tore his ACL in the Tigers’ preseason football jamboree.

You might call his return successful: he struck out five in his two shutout innings of work.

“He’s been working so hard to get back,” Vial said. “We were all thrilled to see him out there again and he had a great outing.”

This weekend Hahnville hosts the annual Gerard Oubre Memorial tournament. HHS hosts Jesuit and Brother Martin this Saturday in a double-header, the games starting at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. respectively.

Games against Shaw (away), Newman (home) and E.D. White(away) next week will also loom large for the Tigers’ eventual power point positioning at playoff time.

“The next two weeks are going to be our most important of pre-district. These are big,” Vial said. “It’s going to really determine a lot for us.”

 

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