After sweeping the Class B state baseball and softball titles earlier this month, Oak Hill of Hineston continued to reap the benefits of its performance.
Oak Hill not only garnered the top two awards on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class B All-State baseball team, but it had three repeat selections on the softball squad. Oak Hill’s Dobie Perkins was named Coach of the Year, while pitcher-shortstop Jami Rachal was selected as the Outstanding Player.
Perkins, despite battling leukemia, guided Oak Hill to a 27-3 record, including a 6-2 victory over Anacoco in the championship game. Rachal was 8-1 as a pitcher with a 1.87 earned run average while hitting nearly .500 with nine home runs and 33 runs batted in. He hit the game-winning home run in a 2-0 semifinal victory over Baker Bethany.
Joining Rachal on the all-state team were fellow senior Jeff Cook and freshman Micah Perkins. Oak Hill teammates Amber Jarrell, Courtney Barton and Courtney Ivey were all repeat members of the all-state softball team.
Class C: Howell, Bell recognized
Two top pitchers were named Outstanding Players on the LSWA Class C All-State baseball and softball teams, respectively. West Monroe Claiborne Christian 14-game winner Jake Bell was the best in baseball, while Hannah Howell, a BYU signee, earned that distinction in softball.
Bell, a junior, was the workhorse of a team that went 17-17 against a majority of teams from higher classifications. Bell finished 14-8 with a 2.77 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 108 innings. He beat top-seeded Elizabeth in the state semifinals and recorded five strikeouts in retiring Elizabeth in order in the second and third innings.
“The way he played in the semis, he deserved it,” said Elizabeth’s Rhon Morgan, who was named Coach of the Year.
“Jake is such a competitor,” Claiborne Christian coach Chad Olinde said. “He got better as the season went along. He’s got great control, a good fastball and a good curveball.”
Howell’s 20-win senior season included six no-hitters. In her six-year prep career, she fashioned a 115-13-2 record with 1,341 strikeouts. She also helped Calvin to four state titles.
“It's not surprising she had the success she’s had,” said Danny Roberts, Howell's travel ball coach and the head coach at Ruston. “She's one of the hardest working players I've ever had.
“Coach Von Alvie, the pitching coach at BYU, had some concerns about her since she was in Class C and asked me what I thought. I said, ‘You come watch her and you won’t be disappointed.’ He did come watch her, and he wasn't disappointed.”
Kristen Bennett was named softball’s Coach of the Year after guiding Claiborne Christian to the state championship.
Softball: West sweeps All-Star doubleheader
Howell continued to excel in the Louisiana Softball Coaches Association All-Star Doubleheader with her selection as the West Most Valuable Player. Howell won the first game with a strong four-inning relief effort in the West’s 5-2 victory. She started the second game but pitched only three innings, which wasn’t enough to officially be declared the winner of the West’ 4-0 victory.
“These are some great players out here,” Howell said. “Every one of them is the best from wherever they come from. I didn’t let that bother me. I might be from a small school, but that doesn’t mean I can’t compete.
“I'm not trying to brag, I’m just saying those girls are no different than the ones I play with during summer ball.”
In her first-game relief effort, Howell retired all 12 batters she faced, striking out eight of them. In pitching a combined hitless seven innings over the course of the doubleheader, Howell struck out 15 and didn’t allow a walk.
Second baseman Bridget Buquoi from Class 5A St. Amant was named the East MVP. Buquoi registered a combined six putouts in the two games, including a diving catch in the opener.
Baseball: Assumption/St. Mary’s All-Stars wins twice
After a close call in its first game, the Assumption/St. Mary’s All-Stars handily captured the nightcap to win the first Friday Night Sports High School Baseball All-Star Classic.
Assumption/St. Mary’s weathered the Terrebonne All-Stars’ nine-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh inning to win 12-11. Assumption/St. Mary’s then turned back the Lafourche All-Stars, 8-4, at Nicholls’ State Ray E. Didier Field in Thibodaux.
Terrebonne defeated Lafourche in the final game, 5-1.
“We wanted to save some pitching for the second game, so we just kind of grabbed our seat belts and held on,” Morgan City’s Richey Garrett, head coach of Assumption/St. Mary’s, said of the first game.
Assumption/St. Mary’s actually fell behind in the second game but scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to overcome its 4-3 deficit. St. Mary’s/Assumption scored two insurance runs in the sixth when Grant Lagrange of Patterson doubled off the center-field wall and scored on Jaron Bailey’s single. Adam Rhodes, Bailey’s teammate at Morgan City, eventually singled home Bailey.
“Before the first game I talked to them and said, ‘Look guys, this is your last competitive game you’re going to play in these spikes,’” Garrett said. ‘‘‘Leave it all on the field. You have nothing to lose. We came here to play, everybody’s going to play, and we’re going to win with everybody.’ And they took it to heart, and did what they had to do to win."
Football: Reunion, of sorts, at Baton Rouge Christian Life
When looking for an offensive coordinator, Baton Rouge Christian Life Academy coach Warren Capone noticed a familiar last name among the applicants. Capone had played for Charles McClendon at LSU and so was intrigued upon seeing the name Jason McClendon. Jason is the grand-nephew of the late Charles McClendon.
“I didn’t know Coach McClendon had a nephew who was in coaching,” said Capone, a standout linebacker for LSU from 1971-73. “But as soon as I met him, I knew he was the guy we were looking for.
“His résumé showed that he was a successful coach, and he’s the nephew of my coach. All that made it an easy choice.”
Capone hired the 29-year-old McClendon from the fitness industry in Shreveport. McClendon also was a junior high school coach at Loyola Prep after having spent one season as an assistant coach at Alexandria Senior High.
McClendon is a former linebacker at Louisiana College.
“Nobody is a bigger LSU football buff than me, and I knew Warren Capone was an All-American linebacker at LSU. And I knew Christian Life went to the (Class 1A) finals last year,” McClendon said. “I just sent him an e-mail to see if Christian Life was looking to hire any coaches.
“They brought me in for an interview and hired me. I’ve known I wanted to be a coach since I was 15. This is a great opportunity for me. I can’t wait to get started.” McClendon replaces Glenn Barras, who is now CLA’s athletic director.