By BRET H. McCORMICK
Holy Savior Menard senior pitcher Andrew Prejean turned in one of the most dominating seasons in recent memory in leading the Eagles to the Division III Select championship game, while Pineville first-year coach Cullen Guerriero guided the Rebels to the semifinals for the first time in 38 years.
For those reasons and more Prejean and Guerriero brought home the major individual awards and headline the inaugural Rapides Parish Journal All-Parish Baseball Team.
Prejean, the only senior on this year’s Menard team, was dominant on the mound, posting an 11-2 record with a 0.75 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 75 innings. The Meridian (Miss.) Community College signee pitched nine shutouts on the season and had two no-hitters.
His list of victories reads like a Who’s Who of Louisiana baseball – state champions Iowa and Ouachita Christian, as well as Rosepine and St. Louis – and he went 3-0 in the playoffs, including a win over Notre Dame in the semifinals.
Prejean was selected as the parish’s Most Outstanding Player over stiff competition from Alexandria Senior High senior pitcher Joe Bordelon, Pineville senior outfielder Amahri Jackson and Grace Christian senior third baseman Luke Johnson.
Guerriero, who spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Pineville, took over the program following the resignation of Lane Noakes, and he guided a senior-laden squad to a place where it hadn’t been in nearly four decades.
The Rebels knocked off parish rival Tioga for the first time since 2017, defeated Division I Non-Select runner-up West Monroe during District 2-5A action and ultimately finished the season with a 23-13 record that included a series victory over District 2-5A rival ASH in the Division I Select quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Jesuit in the semifinals.
For his efforts in leading the Rebels deep in the playoffs Guerriero was selected as the RPJ’s All-Parish Coach of the Year in a close decision over Menard’s Jordan Marks, who guided the Eagles to the Division III Select championship game.
The All-Parish Baseball Team, selected by a panel of local sports journalists with input from the parish’s baseball coaches, consists of one player at each standard position, four pitchers, two utility players and a designated hitter. The “Best of the Rest” features the top 20 remaining players who were given strong consideration for the first team. Those selections were not chosen by position.
2023 RAPIDES PARISH JOURNAL ALL-PARISH BASEBALL TEAM
Outstanding Player: Andrew Prejean, Menard
Coach of the Year: Cullen Guerriero, Pineville
Pitcher: Andrew Prejean, Sr., Menard – The parish’s Most Outstanding Player provided senior leadership and a high level of production on the mound for the Eagles, finishing the season with an 11-2 record, 0.75 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 75 innings pitched.
Pitcher: Joe Bordelon, Sr., ASH – The hard-throwing left-hander who is headed to LSU-Eunice was the Trojans’ ace this season, going 6-3 on the mound with a 1.84 ERA, one save and a parish-leading 115 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched in leading ASH to the Division I Select quarterfinals.
Pitcher: Seth Cook, Jr., Grace Christian – The Warriors’ two-way threat finished the year with a 9-2 record and 0.99 ERA while batting .365 with seven home runs and 52 RBIs in helping guide Grace to the Division V Select semifinals.
Pitcher: Brady Huffman, Sr., Pineville – Huffman may not have the best stuff in the parish, but his competitiveness is off the charts. The Louisiana Christian signee was the Rebels’ best player throughout district and the playoffs, leading Pineville to the Division I Select semifinals and finishing with a 5-4 record, 3.31 ERA, .389 batting average, .500 on-base percentage, seven doubles, 16 RBIs and 29 runs scored.
Catcher: Ben Wade, Jr., Menard – A part of the Eagles’ loaded Class of 2024, Wade gets the nod as the parish’s top catcher after batting .339 with 12 doubles and 18 RBIs, while throwing out 33 of 59 runners attempting to steal (44 percent).
First Base: Drake Aldredge, Jr., Menard – The big Eagle on the corner of the infield batted .336 on the season with three home runs, 13 doubles, 31 RBIs and a .976 fielding percentage.
Second Base: Caden Extine, Fr., ASH – Extine was a true Swiss Army knife for the Trojans, starting all 35 games as a freshman and playing all over the infield. He finished the season with a .250 batting average but a .504 on-base percentage as he had a team-high 37 walks, three home runs, 23 runs scored and 39 RBIs.
Third Base: Luke Johnson, Sr., Grace Chrstian – The Northeast Texas Community College signee was the Warriors’ top hitter on the season with a parish-leading .608 batting average, 10 home runs, 13 doubles, three triples, 53 RBIs and 19 stolen bases.
Shortstop: Drew Tomlin, Sr., ASH – The standout senior led the Trojans with a .426 batting average, .537 on-base percentage, 13 doubles, three home runs, 39 RBIs and 28 runs scored.
Outfield: Amahri Jackson, Sr., Pineville – The Rebels’ top hitter on the season, Jackson batted .400 with a .547 on-base percentage, six home runs, team highs of 31 RBIs and 42 runs, 26 stolen bases and a .960 fielding percentage while showing off his speed and agility in center field.
Outfield: John Barajas, Sr., ASH – The Trojans’ right fielder and leadoff hitter, who signed with Mississippi Delta Community College, batted .390 with a .533 on-base percentage, five home runs, 28 RBIs and a team-high 37 runs scored.
Outfield: Carter Marcantel, Jr., Menard – Another member of the Eagles’ superb junior class, Marcantel batted .333 on the season with 20 RBIs and 29 runs scored.
Designated Hitter: Alex Courville, Sr., Pineville – The Rebels’ power-hitting first baseman led the team with seven home runs and 16 extra-base hits while batting .288 with 23 RBIs and also going 3-1 on the mound with a 2.15 ERA as a mid-week starter.
Utility: Cooper Scott, Jr., Menard – The Eagles’ leading hitter split time between third base and pitcher, going 7-1 on the mound with a 1.57 ERA while batting .396 with four home runs, 16 doubles and 36 RBIs.
Utility: Haidyn Boone, So, Buckeye – The shortstop and starting pitcher for the District 3-3A champion Panthers went 5-1 on the mound with a 3.10 ERA while batting .327 with 26 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
BEST OF THE REST (listed in alphabetical order)
Keyan Bordelon, Jr., Glenmora – A starting pitcher and third baseman, Bordelon posted an 8-3 record and 2.73 ERA on the mound while batting .390 with one home run and 27 RBIs.
Adam Brodnax, So, Buckeye – The second of the Panthers’ standout sophomore pitchers/infielders, Brodnax finished the season with a 6-2 record and 3.10 ERA while striking out 60 batters and also posting a .324 batting average.
Chris Clark, Sr., ASH – The Trojans’ center fielder and cleanup hitter batted .276 on the season with two home runs, 20 RBIs and 29 runs scored.
Lance Dauzat, Sr., Pineville – The Rebels’ left fielder led the team with 43 hits while batting .377 with 10 extra-base hits, 28 RBIs and 28 runs scored.
Cody Davis, Jr., Grace Christian – The Warriors’ catcher known for his strong arm threw out 18 of 26 runners attempting to steal while also hitting .325 with six home runs, seven doubles, 38 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.
Ben Eskew, Jr., ASH – The Trojans’ No. 3 starter showcased superb control by giving up just six walks in 46.2 innings pitched while going 6-0 with one save and a 1.67 ERA in 14 appearances.
Hunter Gillespie, Jr., Glenmora – The Wildcats’ catcher was the team’s second-leading hitter with a .453 batting average, one home run and 34 RBIs.
Michael Henry, Jr., Menard – The Eagles featured so much depth on the mound that their No. 4 pitcher posted a 4-0 record with a 1.01 ERA and three saves on the season.
Seth Herron, Sr., Bolton – One of the three-year starters who helped guide the Bears to the second round of the Division II Select playoffs, Herron batted .318 with three doubles, one triple, one home run and team highs of 24 RBIs and 27 runs scored while making just one error on the season at first base.
Gavin Hilton, Jr., Menard – A middle infielder who played both second base and shortstop, Hilton batted .308 with 15 RBIs, 11 stolen bases and flashed a solid glove with a .944 fielding percentage.
Tyler Looney, Jr., Tioga – An outfielder and right-handed pitcher for the Indians, Looney batted .338 with three doubles and 18 RBIs while posting a 4.74 ERA in 48.2 innings pitched.
Austin Lorenz, Sr., ASH – The Trojans’ left-hander and No. 2 starter posted a 7-2 record with one save and a 2.49 ERA while striking out 59 batters in 56.2 innings pitched.
Devin McFarland, Sr., Oak Hill – The Rams’ star shortstop and pitcher batted .380 with a .595 on-base percentage, 24 RBIs and 38 runs scored while posting a 3.12 ERA and 67 strikeouts on the season.
Alex Morrison, Jr., Tioga – The Indians’ center fielder battled arm injuries that kept him off the mound and provided leadership to a young team while batting .295 with six doubles, one triple and 11 RBIs.
Wes Oates, So., Pineville – The left-handed power hitter who played first base, catcher and designated hitter burst onto the scene late in the season with three home runs in District 2-5A play while batting .275 with 23 RBIs.
Brennan Paige, Sr., Bolton – The Bears’ catcher and infielder was the team’s best hitter during district play and finished the season with a .314 batting average, a team-high eight doubles, one triple and 18 RBIs while making just two errors.
Cameron Parks, Jr., Glenmora – The Wildcats’ shortstop was the team’s leading hitter with a .467 batting average, two home runs and 32 stolen bases in helping the team to the second round of the Division III Select playoffs.
Kennedy “KP” Paul, Sr., Bolton – The right-handed pitcher, catcher and shortstop led the Bears with a .379 batting average and .549 on-base percentage while compiling five doubles, one home run, 14 RBIs, 23 runs scored and only one error defensively.
Greg Willis, Sr., Pineville – Despite missing a major chunk of the district season, Willis was a key utility player for the Rebels as a pitcher, first baseman, third baseman and outfielder. The Mississippi Valley State signee went 3-0 on the mound with a 2.76 ERA while batting .365 with two home runs and 29 RBIs.
Kanyon Wright, So., Grace Christian – A first baseman and pitcher for the Warriors, Wright went 7-2 on the mound with a 1.89 ERA while batting .446 with five home runs, 13 doubles and 50 RBIs.
Photo illustration by BRET H. McCORMICK, One T Photography