Though Destrehan must replace the majority of starting position players and pitchers from last season’s team, those around the program can’t help but feel encouraged about the way the team’s new pieces have come together during summer league play.
DHS, playing under the banner of the ES&H Wildcats for American Legion play, are 5-3 overall this summer and started a perfect 4-0 in Legion competition.
“We’ve played surprisingly well, given the turnover,” said ES&H coach Chris Mire. “We’re trying to refocus ourselves on having the right mindset, being more positive and energetic, and I think our guys are playing loose and relaxed.”
Mire said that even though the slate is virtually clean across the board and starting jobs are up for grabs, his players have embraced the concept of team.
“They’re pulling for one another, guys are coming off the bench and contributing … it’s really been a team effort,” Mire said.
Among players off to a fast start have been T.J. Thomas, the team’s shortstop and one of the program’s few returning starters, Max Jacob and Dylan Weber. Thomas started all of the prep season, while Jacob earned at bats as the season went on and Weber took over for injured catcher Bryce Rochelle down the stretch. Thomas and Jacob have consistently batted in the top part of the lineup so far this summer and delivered in their roles, as has Weber, who has earned time as the team’s leadoff hitter thanks to his ability to get on base.
Josh Vicknair, meanwhile, has been a surprise standout who is making a big push to enter next season as a starter.
“He’s swinging the bat well and making things happen,” Mire said. “All of those guys have been standouts so far.”
On the mound, it will not be easy for Mire and his staff to replace its graduated seniors, who included staff ace and LSU Tiger-to-be Landon Marceaux and no. 2 starter Bryce Scioneaux. Joshua MacCord will be asked to step into a lead role, while T.J. Thomas has proven reliable and will be another counted on to anchor the rotation.
“But it won’t be one or two guys replacing all those innings we lost,” Mire said. “If we have an area of concern, it’s trying to replace those quality starts and innings we got last season. We’ve got guys who are coming in, throwing strikes and eating innings. That’s how we’ll have to do it, force teams to swing the bat and not put guys on base ourselves.”
ES&H held off a ferocious rally by Covington Sunday to secure a 9-7 victory.
The Wildcats scored in all six innings it went to bat and led 6-1 at one point before Covington posted a four run fifth, then a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings to make it a tight finish. But Seth Kenney closed the door, throwing two innings of relief ball to earn a save.
Ahman Morris earned the win, going 4.1 innings for Destrehan and allowing five runs on seven hits. He struck out three.
At the plate, Max Jacob and Ty Yoes each went 2-for-2 with two RBIs to lead the way offensively. Josh Vicknair also scored two runs for the Wildcats.
ES&H took the loss on Saturday, however, in a slugfest with Teurlings Catholic where the Wildcats saw their own rally — all 10 of the team’s runs came in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings — come up just short.
Weber went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI for Destrehan. Jacob was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored. Nathan Rhodes took the loss on the mound for the Wildcats.