Family tradition Ardoin learns from backyard games

Published 6:24 pm Friday, July 1, 2022

For most, a game of baseball in the backyard is all fun and games, but for Sam Houston’s Sam Ardoin, the youngest in his family, it is no ordinary game.

His opponents include a former major league catcher, his father Danny Ardoin, and a trio of Division I athletes in older siblings Drew, who played for Lamar in 2020, Silas, a catcher for the University of Texas, and Erin, a McNeese State outfielder.

“It is mainly looking at the game as a backyard game and having fun,” Ardoin said. “They have really relaxed me in the game when we have a high-(pressure) situation. Now, when I come out and play, I just take the approach of a backyard baseball game.

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“My sister can play. Anytime we are playing backyard baseball, it is always competitive. She definitely won’t let us get away with being boys. We can’t take it easy on her either. She won’t allow that. It is pretty competitive in our house.”

Family competition has allowed him to learn how to handle high-pressure situations during his high school career.

“They paved the way for me,” Ardoin said. “They fill me in with a lot of knowledge of the game.

“It allows me to have somebody to push me to be like my dad and brothers.”

Danny Ardoin played 165 MLB games in eight years with five teams.

“They did an excellent job of mentoring me throughout my high school years. It is having to fill in the shoes of those before me. My dad played in the big leagues and my older brother, Silas, is having a great career at Texas. I have a lot of shoes to fill, but I am not afraid of it, so I am just going to continue to work.”

Those backyard games are working. The second baseman earned American Press All-Southwest Big Schools honors, batting .310 with eight doubles, two home runs, 21 RBIs and 26 runs scored while stealing 13 bags.

He also added a new facet to his game in 2022, pitching for the first time at the high school level. He went 6-1 on the mound with a 2.43 earned run average.

“I find joy in it,” Ardoin said. “I had a little bit of success this year pitching for the first time in my life. Hopefully, I can continue to get better at it. Next year I am going to have to pitch a lot.

“We have me and another guy that is going to have to throw a lot of innings. I have been working on mainly my speed and working hard on and off the field. Defensively, I am polishing up some things and becoming consistent at the plate.”

Thursday afternoon at the Future Stars Series Class of 2023 National Championship tournament, Ardoin pitched a complete game as Team Louisiana-Ardoin 2023 improved to 2-1 in pool play with a 13-8 win over East Coast Sox Scout.

He helped lead Sam Houston to the Class 5A quarterfinals and said he hopes to lead the Broncos to even bigger things in his final season.

“I feel like I am going to be a leader on our team again this year,” Ardoin said. “I am going to have to lead our guys by example day in and day out in work and details.

“I think we are going to make another good run this year. I look forward to putting a ring on the finger for the first time in school history in Class 5A. That is what we are working towards.”