There was little trouble choosing Southwest Louisiana's single best high school baseball team of the decade as Barbe's 2014 team put together quite the résumé, including several national championship designations, the most dominant playoff run of any area team this decade and a roster bursting with players who would play at the next level.
The Bucs finished the season with a 39-2 record, closed the season with 27 consecutive wins and went undefeated in one of the state's toughest districts, 3-5A. Barbe rolled through the playoffs, winning all seven games and outscoring opponents 54-13.
State MVP Kennon Fontenot led the offense, batting 489. Twins Beau and Bryce Jordan joined him on the first-team all-state squad, as did ace pitcher Gunner Leger, who finished the season 17-0. Second starter Adam Goree, a freshman, finished the season 13-0, including a 7-0 win over Live Oak in the state championship game.
Other future college players on the team included infielder Braden Comeaux, outfielders Shane Selman and Alex Goree, infielder Braden Barrett, utility player Kirkland Banks, pitcher Tyler Booth and catcher Hunter Feduccia.
The team was declared national champions by Baseball America, MaxPrep Sports, Perfect Game USA and by the National High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Other top teams from the decade:
2 Kinder (2014): The first of back-to-back title teams for the Yellow Jackets gets the nod over the 2015 team. The 2014 'Jackets finished 29-7, winning their last 14 games, including a trio of nail-biters in the playoffs, which started with a 1-0 win over Oak Hill and Zack Rider tossing a two-hitter. In the quarterfinals, the 'Jackets were down a run to Menard with two outs in the seventh when Zach Rider hit an inside-the-park homer to tie the score, which was won in extra innings on a Bryce Baker single.
At the state tournament, the 'Jackets beat Riverside 8-5 in the semifinal round then won a final squeaker in the title game, beating Catholic-New Iberia 2-1 in extra innings, with sophomore Welles Cooley delivering the winning hit. Dylan Poncho homered to left to score Kinder's first run.
3 Sam Houston (2019): Ranked as high as No. 2 at one point in a national poll, the Broncos narrowly missed bringing home their first Class 5A state title, losing to district rival Barbe in the championship game. Sam Houston went 37-5, allowing 68 runs behind a talented pitching staff led by Cameron Meeks, who won the Mr. Baseball award as the state's most outstanding player after going 10-0 on the mound and hitting .405 with 51 RBIs. Third baseman/pitcher Kyle Bartley was a two-way star for the Broncos, whose offense was led by top-of-the-order hitters Braden Duhon and Silas Ardoin.
Six Broncos signed with Division I schools. Ardoin signed with Texas, closer Marcus Mott with LSU, Bartley with Southeastern Louisiana, Meeks with McNeese State, Duhon with Louisiana Tech (since transferred to McNeese) and shortstop Hunter Gotreaux with Nicholls State. The Broncos won 16 games in a row to start the season and had another streak of 13 wins snapped in the title-game loss to Barbe, which beat the Broncos twice in three games.
4 Sulphur (2015): Another of the area's great teams that did not win a state title, the Tors had an amazing year, going 35-3 and allowing 74 runs, led by a pair of southpaw starters in Kale Breaux and Kyle Griffen, who combined to go 19-1. Third starter Andrew Sheridan posted an 8-1 record and Austin Nelson powered the offense with 10 home runs.
The Tors opened the season with a 24-game winning streak and swept both regular-season games against Barbe before losing to the Bucs 4-3 in the state semifinals. Barbe won the state title with a 6-1 win over Catholic-Baton Rouge. Breaux won the Mr. Baseball award in the 2016 season before signing with Mississippi State and later transferring to McNeese. Nelson played football and baseball at McNeese. Griffen played four years at Louisiana Tech and Sheridan currently plays at McNeese after transferring from LSU-Eunice.
5 South Beauregard (2017): No area program made greater strides in the decade than the Golden Knights, who reached the state championship game three times. From 1997-2012, the program won one of eight playoff games. Since 2013, the team has won at least one playoff game each year and has played in three of the last four Class 3A championship games.
The 2017 team won the title with a 27-14 record, beating District 4-3A rival Iowa 10-0 in the championship game. In seven playoff games, the Knights pitched four shutouts and outscored their two state tournament opponents by a 16-1 margin. Logan Savoy threw a four-hitter in the championship game and drove in run. Chance Clark had two hits, two runs and two RBIs in the title game while Jansen Fontenot doubled twice and scored three times. Hayden Gunter had three hits and three RBIs. Each of the four players advanced to college baseball, with Savoy and Fontenot signing with Louisiana-Lafayette, Clark with LSU-E and Gunter with Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College.