Bucs record 24th consecutive 20-win season

By By Troy LaFleur / American Press

In the ever-changing landscape of

Southwest Louisiana, few things remain consistent. Among those are Mardi

Gras parades, Contraband

Days, duck season and Barbe baseball.

Barbe High School is without a doubt the most decorated baseball program in the area.

In the Bucs’ trophy case one will find six Louisiana Class 5A state championships, 19 district championships and one national championship. Those honors culminate from 14 seasons with 30 or

more wins and, as of last week, 24 consecutive seasons of 20 wins or more.

“People like to talk about our six

state championships, and we are excited about that,” said Bucs coach

Glenn Cecchini, “but

there are a lot of great teams we have had that made it far and

didn’t win. I think that the consistency of our players speaks

volumes about their commitment and dedication.”

Possibly eclipsing their 20th win this season is their national ranking. When the rankings were released on Tuesday, the Bucs

were ranked second and fourth nationally in the Baseball America and Max Preps polls, respectively.

“That’s neat, and not just for Barbe, but for the community,” Cecchini said. “In the big scope of things Lake Charles isn’t

a city so that is really neat.”

Cecchini is proud of those accomplishments, but an honor he is even more proud of is that 9 percent of all Barbe baseball

players over the past 15 years were drafted by Major League Baseball teams.

Nationally, every year, less than half of 1 percent of all high school baseball players are drafted, meaning Barbe players

get drafted 18 times more often than the national average.

Hanging on the walls of the Barbe Buc

field house, above a plethora of awards and plaques, is a sign to

motivate the young

men who don Columbia and Navy blue. It reads: “Every year less

than 1% of all high school players gets drafted. Someone has

to be that 1%. Why not you?”

The sign is one of many that players

will find on their way to the locker room. It’s not because Cecchini is

trying to add

trophies to his case, but he wants the players to improve each

day. One of Cecchini’s lessons is that if each player improves

1 percent at something each day, they will be 100 percent better

at the end of the 100-day season.

“We want to motivate and inspire,” Cecchini said. “We always stay positive with the kids, and make them believe that anything

is possible.”

And that motivation translates onto the field where the Bucs have been one of the dominant forces in Louisiana baseball for

almost a quarter century.

“We want to beat you at every phase of the game,” Cecchini said. “We want to beat you at base running, we want to beat you

at defense, beat you on the mound and beat you with the home run.”

But the draft isn’t the only option for the Bucs. In the Cecchini era, 89 Bucs have signed scholarships to play baseball.

That doesn’t include the six seniors who have signed and one junior who is committed.

Those seniors include shortstop Kennon

Fontenot (Oklahoma State), first baseman/pitcher Gunner Leger

(Louisiana-Lafayette),

pitcher Erin Baldwin (Houston), third baseman Braedon Barrett

(Northwestern State), catcher Bryce Jordan (LSU) and outfielder

Beau Jordan (LSU).

“This senior group is really special,” Cecchini said. “Six division one signees is unheard of, even for us. We usually have

a lot of guys go on and play at the next level, at least in junior college, but this is a big deal.

“It is a testament to all the players with the commitment and dedication to being the best that they can be.”

The junior commitment is second baseman Braden Comeaux, who will join Texas Christian in 2015.

The Bucs look to improve on their 21-2 record when they host District 3-5A rival Sam Houston at 6 p.m. today.