Last year was a successful one for the Destrehan Wildcats, who captured a share of the District 6-5A championship and advanced to the state quarterfinals before falling to district-mate Dutchtown 4-5 to end their season.
And while the Wildcats hope for another shot at the district championship, they will have to get there with an almost completely new cast. Thankfully, two of the returning starters are pitcher Kurt McCune and shortstop Sam Carriere.
McCune, a 6-3 right-hander, went 6-3 last year with a 2.97 ERA and 66 strikeouts. McCune also made his presence felt from the plate, hitting .355, notching 34 RBIs and slamming four home runs.
Those stats attracted the attention of LSU head coach Paul Mainieri, who signed McCune last year.
Carriere signed with Nicholls State. The district’s Gold Glove winner in 2009 hit .275 with 18 RBIs and three home runs last season.
But with district play beginning on March 23, the Wildcats are currently 6-7 on the season after suffering back-to-back losses to Jesuit and Brother Martin.
Against Jesuit, Destrehan trailed 9-3 after five innings, but scored seven runs in the last two innings to even the score at 10-10. However, Jesuit won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning on a two out, bases loaded single off the right field wall.
In the second game, Destrehan could not solve Brother Martin right-hander Logan Riddell and was shut out for the first time this season.
Destrehan junior left-hander Brandt Bourgeois pitched well enough to win, allowing three runs on four hits. Two of those hits made the difference in this pitcher’s duel. Casey Rodrigue’s two-run homer in the fourth broke a scoreless tie. An RBI double by Christian Valeton in the fifth extended the Crusader lead to 3-0.
Against Riddell, Destrehan managed only three hits, none after the third inning.
But Destrehan is not panicking.
Last season, the Wildcats were 8-9-1 when they entered district play. They then rolled off 13 wins to only two losses for a share of the district crown.
Even though they are 6-7, the Wildcats have been swinging the bats fairly well so far with a team average of .289.
Senior Matt Smith is leading Destrehan from the plate with a .450 average that includes 16 RBIs and two home runs.
Dylan Lucich is next with a .366 average, while McCune and Carriere are both batting .342. Carriere has 11 RBIs, while McCune has nine.
From the stripe, McCune is 2-2 on the season with an ERA of 5.44. His ERA is skewed somewhat due to an 11-1 loss to Catholic of Baton Rouge. Bourgeois has also been impressive and leads the team with a 2.72 ERA.
Lucich, Smith, senior Scott Stonestreet, junior Ethan Hutson and sophomore Austin Gab have also seen action on the mound this season and will be counted on when district play starts.
But before the Wildcats face off against Dutchtown on March 23, they will get another shot at Brother Martin on Friday at 4 p.m. at home. The team will then battle Holy Cross on Saturday at 3 p.m. at home before traveling to Hahnville to take on West Ouachita at 12:30 p.m on Sunday.