Tigers tested their youth in Legion

It hasn’t been the kind of summer people have grown accustomed to for Hahnville baseball, though it hasn’t been without its bright spots.The elimination game loss by the Tigers’ American Legion team in the district playoffs two weeks ago (June 30) was a change from the norm. The Tigers, historically been among the most dangerous foes for American Legion opposition, went 8-10 in summer action through that tourney, never truly getting into a groove. Its run of appearances at the Southeast Regional was snapped; HHS (under the banner Otto Candies) would have been the regional’s defending champion. Hahnville had also reached the Legion state championship tournament in four of its previous five seasons. 

“It was very disappointing,” Hahnville coach David Baudry said of his team’s elimination loss to rival Destrehan’s Legion squad.  “It’s the first time in 10-to-15 years that Hahnville hasn’t moved on. We didn’t play well. When it came time to play well in our two (tournament) games against Destrehan we didn’t play well.”

This was a much younger, more inexperienced Hahnville squad than in summers past, in all phases of the game. Several rainouts did not help matters, making it tougher for the Tigers to integrate their new faces into a cohesive unit. With about nine rainouts, and the team’s early elimination, Hahnville elected to continue playing this summer in weekend tournaments past its Legion elimination in order to regain some live reps.

“Our youth showed in tournament ball,” Baudry said. “That was the big difference. We don’t feel like we’ve played enough games in the summer to really gauge where we are and where we need to go.”

Hunter LeBlanc established himself as one of Hahnville’s elite hitters last season and did nothing to dispel that fact this summer. He batted .414 and scored 13 runs in nine games — he did not play the full slate due to injury.

“He came back after his surgery (late in the Legion season) and he was rusty,” Baudry said. “You could tell, but when he left he was on fire. He’s a great hitter and he’ll be fine.”

Beau Landry didn’t carry the same high batting average at .227, but flashed great on-base skills by posting a .390 OBP and 11 walks to 11 strikeouts.

“He’s got some pop in his bat and a good eye at the plate. He had a good summer,” Baudry said.

On the mound, Hahnville saw strong performances from Hayden Theriot, whose 1.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP came across 19 innings of work, second most on the team. Dane Wise saw the most action this summer, logging 25 innings and spinning a 3.36 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Wise struck out 18 batters and walked four, while Theriot struck out 17 and walked 10. Matt Champagne, who broke out in the 2017 prep season for Hahnville, tossed 13.2 innings with a 2.05 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 14 strikeouts to six walks.

Wise and Champagne are experienced after seeing much action as juniors. Theriot, who was a sophomore last season, is just getting his feet wet and showed promise. A mechanical tweak, Baudry said, may be the difference in Theriot making a big leap in his junior year.

“He’s really come a long way since we started the year back in January,” Baudry said. “He had persistent arm trouble … we worked really hard to get his arm angle up and he’s flourished from there. He has a good, live fastball and he’s got a good breaking ball. He commands the strike zone with some consistency. He still needs to get a little better at doing that, but I thought he had a really, really positive summer.”

Baudry cautions that there’s still much work to do.

“We really feel we have players who, as they gain the experience and get more practice time, they’ll find that consistency we need down the road,” Baudry said.

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