Video: Early Contenders - No. 2 Barbe
Early Contenders - #2 Barbe (LA)
See all the fun from our trip to Louisiana to meet the No. 2 team in the nation.Head coach:
Glenn Cecchini2015-16 record:
35-6, Louisiana Class 5A state champion... Ranked No. 9 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Rankings presented by the Army National GuardState Association:
Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 5AEnrollment:
Few teams in the nation can match the history that Barbe baseball has carved out in Louisiana. And the Buccaneers appear to be more than capable of adding to their proud tradition.
According to the school website, Barbe has been nationally ranked 24 of the past 25 seasons. The Buccaneers have also won nine state championships, made 20 state tournament appearances and participated in the state playoffs 27 of the past 28 years.
The Buccaneers are also coming off their third-straight state championship. With six key starters back from last year, including the entire outfield and the team's top two pitchers, Barbe is the favorite to win a fourth-straight crown.
Barbe also earns the No. 2 spot on the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Early Contenders list. MaxPreps is counting down the top five teams in the country this week with a preview of the entire top 25 expected on Feb. 21.
The pitching staff figures to be stellar this year with four-year starter Adam Goree returning to the mound. He earned Southwest Louisiana Player of the Year honors last season after throwing a pair of no-hitters and finishing with an 8-1 record. He's joined on the mound by Slate Fuller, who earned MVP honors in the state finals. He went 7-1 on the season with a 0.77 ERA. The two were members of a 2016 pitching staff that had a miniscule 0.90 team ERA.Gallery: Barbe preseason Top 25 Early Contenders photo shoot
Barbe also has a strong group of position players returning, led by the outfield trio of Antonio Gauthier, Tanner Littleton and Alex Goree. Gauthier is one of the top prospects in Louisiana in the Class of 2018 and he earned All-State honors as a sophomore. Littleton, meanwhile, was honorable mention All-State as a junior. Goree is coming off a junior season when he hit .297.
The Buccaneers also figure to have senior third baseman Kirkland Banks back for an entire season. He missed the final half of last season with a broken ankle, but hitting .407 at the time of the injury.Players to watch
Adam Goree (LHP, Senior)
- 8-1 pitching record, 1.17 ERA, 79 strikeouts, 66 innings pitched, 2 no-hitters... Southwest Louisiana Player of the Year... MaxPreps Underclass All-American.
Antonio Gauthier (3B/RF, Junior)
- .398 batting average, 39 stolen bases... First team All-State, first team All-Southwest Louisiana.Kirkland Banks (3B, Senior)
- .407 batting averageTanner Littleton (LF, Senior)
- .351 batting average, 27 stolen bases... Honorable mention All-State.Slate Fuller (RHP, Senior)
- 7-1 pitching record, 0.77 ERA, 55 strikeouts... State finals MVP.Alex Goree (CF)
- .297 batting average, 24 stolen bases.Storylines
* Glenn Cecchini has long been one of the top coaches in the country, but over the past four years he has really outdone himself. Besides leading the Buccaneers to three straight Louisiana Class 5A state championships, Cecchini was also named National Coach of the Year by one publication and his team was the MaxPreps national champion in 2014. He also coached two national 18U teams for Team USA and led them both to gold medals: the 2015 team at the World Cup in Japan and the 2016 team at Monterrey, Mexico. All tallied, Cecchini has a career record of 826-186 (.816) with 21 district championships, nine state championships and two national championships.
* Barbe has had over 30 players drafted into professional baseball during Cecchini's 31-year tenure as coach, including two first round picks. Joey Lawrence went in the first round in 1996 and Cecchini's son Gavin went in the first round in 2012. The Buccaneers could add to that list over the next two years with Adam Goree seen as a potential draft pick in 2017 and Antonio Gauthier possibly being chosen in 2018.
Feb. 23-25 - Sulphur tournament
March 2-4 - Southwest Louisiana tournament
March 9-11 - Marucci tournament
March 16-18 - Lakeside Bank tournament
March 23, April 8 - vs. Lafayette (La.)
March 30, April 15 - vs. Sulphur (La.)