Last season was filled with ups and downs for the Hahnville Tigers.
The team finished the year with an 18-17 record, but showed flashes of brilliance throughout the season. In fact, the Tigers came only one win shy of the 5A state tournament after falling to Dutchtown 8-0 in a regional playoff game.
The Tigers are much younger this season after losing nine seniors who saw plenty of playing time in 2009. They do return a solid nucleus of starters though, including Ryne Robert, Britten Lanaux, Dillon Boudreaux and Jared Harrell. Those also happen to be four of the only six seniors on the squad.
“At one point in this season I looked up and we had only three seniors playing,” Hahnville head coach Kade Rogers said. “We’re young, and we’re having to teach those young guys how to compete.
“I can tell you that they are buying into what we are doing here and practice is actually a joy for everyone this season.”
The Tigers are 9-5 so far this season, with a couple of big wins over Neville High School and Denham Springs. Those victories are a testament to the team’s work ethic, Rogers said, because Hahnville is average in all phases of the game.
“Everybody has to step up this season because we are a very average ball club,” he said. “We are average in pitching, average in hitting and just average in every aspect. For us to win, we have to play hard and play the right way.”
And because of the switch over to the power point system, in which teams are rated in a power poll by they way they perform in every game on their schedule, Rogers said that every game is huge.
“We went to a tournament in Monroe and we took 24 guys, 22 of whom played,” he said. “With this new system, you don’t get to try out different lineups until you find one that’s working good for you. Every game is a must win.”
And the Tigers have looked good early on, especially from the stripe.
Lanaux, Robert and junior Adam Dufrene have all been impressive on the mound because of their ability to throw strikes.
“They have done very well,” Rogers said. “In fact, that’s why we have played so well so far – those guys are throwing strikes and giving our team chances to make plays. So much of your success relies on the pitcher’s ability to throw strikes.”
The team hasn’t been too shabby swinging the bats either.
“It’s really been amazing how we are doing in that area because everyone is stepping up at different times,” Rogers said. “The same guy that will go 0-3 the game before will go 3-3 the next game. Everyone is really complimenting one another.”
The Tigers will still have to travel to Mandeville and then take part in the Gerard Oubre Tournament before district play opens on March 23 when Hahnville hosts East Ascension. And when district does begin, Rogers knows that the competition will only get better.
“Every game is going to be tough, but I love this district,” he said. “You get to compete every day and take part in a bunch of good games.”
One thing that concerns Rogers his how is young team will react to that.
“With a young team, you never know how it’s going to affect them both physically and mentally,” he said. “But I believe we have a shot.”