Hahnville coach David Baudry believes his team, which brings back seven position starters and three of its top four starting pitchers from last season, has a chance to do some great things in 2017 and have a chance to hit the ground running.
“From an intangible standpoint, I think we’ve got that going for us,” Baudry said. “I feel like we have guys who have had a significant amount of playing time, either in the summer or the prep season. That’s prepared them … they know what to expect.”
The Tigers began the season with a split of tournament games last weekend, defeating St. Amant 8-2 but falling to East Ascension 6-5. Hahnville added a 12-2 win over Chalmette Monday.
Pitching should again be Hahnville’s strength, its staff led by left-handed ace and Louisiana-Lafayette commitment Austin Perrin.
“At the end of last year on the mound, he was dominant,” Baudry said. “His last 4 starts, he gave up one earned run. And I mean, when you think about that and the fact he’s coming back for his senior year, it is kind of amazing. He and Waylon LeBlanc, they’re both four-year starters, both Division I signees. That’s rare.”
During the summer, a number of pitchers asserted themselves as contenders to complement Perrin in the rotation. Chief among them is senior right-hander David Vial, who Baudry said has emerged as the team’s No. 2 pitcher.
“He had a really good season in football and I think it carried over to his motivation to really excel in baseball,” Baudry said.
Senior Austin Rice will follow after a switch in his mechanics — he shifted from a 3-quarter delivery to sidearm — prompted a leap in performance.
“(Rice) really blossomed with that arm-slot,” Baudry said. “We expect great things out of him.”
Baudry also noted Lloyd Landry, Joey Saucier, Dane Wise and Matt Champagne with arms to be relied upon this season.
Offensively, the Tigers core will be Perrin, Waylon LeBlanc and Hunter LeBlanc.
“Those three guys have been very good offensively since they’ve been here,” Baudry said. “We need to get guys on base around them. I think we will.”
Hunter LeBlanc, Baudry said, has continued to build on what was a red hot summer season.
“He’s hit the ball really well thus far, and I would think when it gets warmer he’s gonna heat up even more,” Baudry said.
This Hahnville team is a faster one than a year ago. Baudry said he expects his team to tap into that plenty this season and seek more opportunities to be aggressive on the bases.
“Guys like Cade Miguez, Waylon, Hunter and Lloyd Landry can really run, too,” Baudry said. “We may be able to pressure defenses better because of that.”
While the Tigers annual matchups with archrival Destrehan will receive plenty of attention, the non-district schedule is sure to prepare the Tigers for them. Matchups with Zachary, Barbe (which is nationally ranked), Jesuit, Evangel, Dutchtown and Parkview Baptist await.
“It’s a very, very difficult schedule,” Baudry said. “If you look at the top 12-15 teams in Louisiana, we probably play eight to 10 of them. I think all those games get you ready to have the opportunity to make a good run in May. You understand what’s coming. The stakes are high and when you play those types of teams, you’ll be better for it.”
That said, Baudry believes this group is up to the task, both in terms of talent and intangibles.
“This senior class is very close,” Baudry said. “The whole team really is. This is a team that listens to learn, not just to respond. They do everything you ask them to do. That usually lends itself to a pretty good season. “
HAHNVILLE 8, ST. AMANT 2 — A four-run sixth inning by Hahnville broke open a 3-2 game, eventually leading to a six-run victory for HHS.
Hunter LeBlanc drove in two runs. Miguez went 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
Perrin (1-0) earned the win, allowing two earned runs on four hits over six innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
EAST ASCENSION 6, HAHNVILLE 5 — A seventh inning Tigers rally came up a run short as East Ascension spoiled the season’s opening game last Thursday.
Waylon LeBlanc went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Hunter LeBlanc went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two doubles. Brennan Warren also drove in a pair of runs and hit a double.
Rice (0-1) took the loss, going four innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits.
HAHNVILLE 12, CHALMETTE 2 — Perrin and Miguez each went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to pace Hahnville in a win Monday. Josh Nunez went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
Lloyd Landry (1-0) earned the win for HHS. He went four innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits. He struck out five and walked two.