By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times
As the temperature starts to increase, the bats are swinging at Saint Mary’s. Lady Tiger softball and Tiger baseball each have new leadership at the helm this season. The ladies will have Coach Stephen Wren in command of a team that returns a core of the talent that made it to the quarterfinals in 2015 and were State runners-up in 2016. He comes to Saint Mary’s from Saint Louis Catholic in Lake Charles.
That 2016 State Runner-up team is now led by eight sophomores, three juniors and four seniors. The ladies look to improve on last year’s record and Coach Wren will test his team early with stiff non-district tournament play. David Cupp returns to help coach Wren and he has been working with this group for several years. Meredith Mott will toe the mound and be aided by Reagan Davis, Ragan Hale and McKenzie Methvin. Batting may be the strong point of the lady Tiger team since the preseason has limited defensive play due to rain.
Saint Mary’s has spent more than enough time in the batting cages and they were looking forward to showing off that offense Feb. 17 when they hosted a jamboree. Weather permitting that is. Kelsey Ward is the projected cleanup hitter and is a Bossier Parish Community College commit. Coach Wren anticipates competition across the lineup and feels he has a quality bench. The Lady Tigers hope to compete for a district title and who knows what the post season will bring. Saint Mary’s alumnus Brooks McMinn takes over the Tiger baseball team this season coming from Cedar Creek.
The Tiger’s are coming off a disappointing season with a losing record and the first time the team had lost a district game in 11 years. Yes that’s correct, Saint Mary’s had not lost a district game in 11 seasons. Last year’s squad only lost one senior and the team returns experience in many key positions. The Tigers don’t have a burner pitcher on staff, but they do have several that can paint the strike zone and allow the defense behind them to make plays. Quality batters include Slade Beinvenu, Brock Zeagler, Stephen Mayeaux and Zach White. Those same men will pitch for the Tigers and be joined by Thomas Howell and Jordan White on the mound. The team hosted the Many Tigers Monday, Feb. 19 and then will compete in additional pre-district tournaments.
Early March has the Tigers traveling to Monroe to play in the Altick Tournament and face some quality North Louisiana teams. Coach McMinn is aided this season by Cole Pippin and Logan Ohnoutka. The Tigers hope to return to their winning ways but have the defending State Championship LaSalle Tigers on the schedule. A change is in store for post season play this year. The first two rounds of playoff competition will be a best of three format. Coach McMinn and his Tigers hope to be playing in the new format at the end of the regular season.