Duhon, Fontenot named American Press All-Southwest Louisiana Big Schools MVPs

Published 7:11 am Saturday, June 8, 2024

South Beauregard’s Jace Duhon dug deep midseason to lead the Golden Knights to a state championship, while Kinder’s Brianna Fontenot returned to crushing home runs at a breakneck pace.

They are the MVPs of the American Press All-Southwest Louisiana Big Schools baseball and softball teams.

South Beauregard’s Jeremy Deville and Iowa’s Kenzie Singletary are the Coaches of the Year.

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Duhon, the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A MVP, and the Knights were at or near the top of the power ratings most of the season. Still, after a 6-0 loss to District 3-3A rival Iowa on March 23, Duhon knew he needed to polish his efforts to keep the momentum going. He won his final seven starts and halved his earned run average. He finished his final high school season 10-2 with a 1.10 earned run average in 681/3 innings with 80 strikeouts and 35 walks.

“I wouldn’t say a slump but he worked on some things,” Deville said. “He had to make some adjustments, and he figured it out.

“He worked on his secondary pitches. It was more of a confidence thing. During all that, he still found ways to get it done. He really fought through it, and then at the end of the year, he finished strong. He had a lot of success.”

In his first nine starts he was 3-2 with 35 strikeouts and 21 walks in 291/3 innings, but over his final seven, he improved his strikeout-to-ball ratio to 3.2:1 (45k strikeouts, 14 walks) and pitched five complete games. His focus could not be broken in his final start in the Nonselect Division III semifinals. Facing the team that had knocked the Golden Knights out the previous season in the semifinals, Duhon pitched a three-hitter to beat Doyle 6-1.

In the quarterfinals, Duhon, who will pitch for Louisiana-Monroe next season, threw a no-hitter against Loreauville with 10 strikeouts. He also had a combined no-hitter earlier in the season.

“He has a really good two-seam fastball,” Deville said. “It runs a lot, and his four-seam runs.

“A lot of people’s four-seam doesn’t run. All his stuff moves, but the two-seam really moves. It dances around, runs in and runs out. Towards the back half of the year, all of his pitches were working. He was hitting spots with the run. If they didn’t swing and miss or take it, they were swinging and getting ground balls and popups.”


Fontenot, who earned her second All-Southwest Louisiana MVP honor, hit 19 home runs as a freshman in 2022, then eight last year. That might have left some teams thinking she had lost her power, but she erased those thoughts this year hitting from a new position in the lineup.

“Last year, people just didn’t throw to her,” former Kinder head coach Zach Montou said. “This year I put her in the two-hole so maybe she would see more pitches. I don’t know if it was a combination of people thought she had lost her touch because she only had eight the year before, or she got more opportunities in the two-hole.”

She led a Kinder offense that averaged more than nine runs a game with a .583 batting average, 12 doubles, 18 home runs, 50 RBIs and 60 runs while striking out three times playing third base.

“I do think her growing and becoming an older player (helped),” Montou said. “She had a little more pop this year.

“From day one, when I saw her, when that girl was 14, she had pop. It seems like she hit another level this year. You could tell in the weight room and with her swing. It is the same swing, just a little more power.”

In the circle, the Purdue commitment drew the toughest assignments, going 9-5 with a 2.80 earned run average of 872/3 innings with 90 strikeouts as Kinder went 24-5.

“She gets all the big tasks,” Montou said. “She faced all the big dogs this year, nothing easy.

“If there is anyone on the team that I want to do it, it is her. She had a major impact, obviously, from a talent, hitting and pitching-wise but also from leadership.”


Deville led the Golden Knights to a 31-3 record and the Nonselect Division III baseball state champion. It was the Golden Knights’ first state championship since 2017 and second in program history. They won the District 3-3A regular season and tournament titles and finished the season on a 16-game win streak.

Singletary took a team with one senior and had it on the doorstep of the state tournament for a third time in four seasons. The Yellow Jackets went 22-9 and lost to North Vermilion 1-0 on a walk-off hit in the Nonselect Division II quarterfinals.