Though 10 seniors are returning for Destrehan this season, the Wildcats will still be looking to garner some key game experience for players throughout its lineup and rotation, including a number of those seniors getting the chance to start for the first time.
“A lot of these guys are being asked to play for the first time,” said Destrehan coach Chris Mire. “But they’ve been in our dugout. They’ve seen the ups and the downs and I think these guys have a good idea of what to expect.”
Run production is one area Mire believes must take a step forward this season. With dominant pitchers like Landon Marceaux and Bryce Scioneaux anchoring the rotation in recent years, hunting a big inning of offense carried less weight than maximizing the chance to plate at least one run, which could prove the difference in a low-scoring game.
“I think we have some quality arms, but we definitely had those upper-tier guys last year. It makes life a whole lot easier when your offense doesn’t have to score as many runs, when you get those double digit strikeouts and don’t have to make as many plays in the field,” Mire said. “We’re gonna have to help our guys out a little more than we did last year.”
He also said defensively, there’s work to do, though he believes his group will come together as everyone gets comfortable in new roles.
But not everyone has to adjust to a new position. Avery Schexnaydre and T.J. Thomas return and look to be cornerstones of the Wildcats this season. The two returning starters hold down the left side of the infield and have been the pitching staff’s most consistent producers so far. Offensively, they’ve taken things up a notch and power the heart of the team’s batting order.
“Those two are definitely our catalysts,” Mire said. “They’ve been our best guys all the way around.”
Injury enabled Dylan Weber to showcase his skills last season, and he returns as the team’s starting catcher.
“He’s a really good receiver and blocker for us,” Mire said. “He’s been handling our staff well. Catcher’s a good spot to have an experienced guy returning for sure.”
Max Jacobs is a player that appears primed for an offensive breakthrough after a strong summer season and prep preseason.
“He’s very consistent. He’s giving us quality at-bats in the middle of our lineup,” Mire said. “We’ll be counting on him to continue that and help us drive in some runs.”
DESTREHAN 2, SULPHUR 0 —The Wildcats got off to a strong start to the regular season by posting a victory over a quality foe on the road, defeating host Sulphur behind T.J. Thomas, Avery Schexnaydre and Gage Harding, who combined to throw seven scoreless, two-hit innings.
Cade Tramuta and Josh Vicknair drove in the runs for Destrehan (1-0), both coming in the fourth inning.
Thomas (1-0) struck out five, walked two and allowed no hits in his four innings of work to earn the win. Schexnaydre (1) earned a save by pitching two scoreless innings to close things. Harding struck out two in his inning of work.