Strike Zone: Getting ready for spring sports
In the season’s first edition of the Strike Zone, staff writers Rodrick Anderson and Warren Arceneaux discuss the upcoming baseball and softball seasons for area small schools.
Name a baseball player to watch.
RA: Vinton’s Noah Gary. The senior catcher/pitcher had a breakout season despite his junior season being cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. He batted .429 with 16 RBIs, 15 runs scored, five doubles and a home run. On the mound, he went 2-0 with a 0.00 earned run average in 16 innings while leading the Lions to a 6-1 record.
WA: Rosepine’s Ethan Frey, an LSU commitment, is one of the area’s top returning hitters and doubles as a power pitcher who can throw in the high 80s. Frey is a 6-foot-5 slugger who can catch and play both corner infield spots.
Name a small schools softball player to watch.
RA: Kinder’s Chloe Hamilton. The senior played a key role on the Yellow Jackets’ run to the 2019 Class 2A state final while batting over .400 and helping Kinder to an 8-4 start last season. She will be the Yellow Jackets’ starting shortstop this season and is one of seven returning starters.
WA: Rosepine pitcher Chloe Bennett. The LSU-Eunice signee struck out more than 200 batters in 2019, finishing the season with a 1.20 ERA while leading the Eagles to a 19-6 season.
Name a team to watch.
RA: A youthful Merryville Panthers team was on a roll last season at 12-1 before the coronavirus pandemic struck. The Panthers look strong again this season with the return of junior pitcher Riley Dyson (12-1, 1.92 ERA, .681 avg., 10 HR, 33 RBIs) plus three first-team all-district players from 2019 in senior Alyssa Duncan and juniors Kaleigh Hudson and Briley Lanier.
WA: The Elizabeth baseball team won nine of the 10 games it played last year and returns six seniors, four pitchers with starting experience and its entire starting infield. Parker Cloud, Alex Chamberlain and Jason Gormanous are among the team’s top returnees.