Stars of the diamond

Catholic High School’s Broc Romero (4) is the Most Valuable Player for The Daily Iberian’s 2018 Best of the Teche Baseball Team.

Broc Romero has a rare competitive spirit and all the tools a coach could ask for in a baseball player.

The recent Catholic High graduate went 7-2 with a 1.118 earned run average on the hill for Catholic High during a Division III semifinal season, and hit .342 in 36 games. He also had the speed to both steal bases and cover a lot of ground in center field for the Panthers, compiling a .983 fielding percentage as a senior.

Romero, who signed a national letter of intent this spring to play baseball at LSU-Alexandria, was voted the District 7-2A MVP in a league that featured not only the semifinalist Panthers but the Class 2A state champion Loreauville Tigers, and followed that up with his selection as the Most Valuable Player on The Daily Iberian’s 2018 Best of the Teche Baseball Team as chosen by the sports staff of The Daily Iberian.

“If he’s not in center field making catches in the gap look easy, then he’s on the mound shutting teams down,” CHS head coach David Jordan said. “If that’s not happening, at the plate he’s getting big hits, or stealing bases. You don’t see many guys like that, five-tool guys.”

Romero struck out 57 and walked 17 in 56 1/3 innings.

Jordan said one thing that makes Romero special is he isn’t afraid to fail. Given that a great batter is successful in just over one in three at-bats, that’s a big key to success in the sport. He also doesn’t change his approach to the game based on the opponent.

“Broc understood the game never changes,” his coach said. “If it’s in the semifinals against Notre Dame or against a lesser team in the regular season, he doesn’t change his approach very much.”

Romero leads a team that features the area’s three state tournament teams prominently — Loreauville, Catholic High and Westgate.

Joining Romero on the pitching staff are Loreauville’s Caleb Washington and Catholic High pitcher Jacob Poe.

Sebastian Jenkins of Westgate is the catcher, with the infield consisting of first baseman Max Borel of New Iberia, second baseman Dale Sonnier of Loreauville, third baseman Mason Granger of Erath and shortstop Hunter Dugas of Catholic High.

The outfielders are New Iberia’s Carson Romero, Erath’s Chandler LeBlanc and Westgate’s Michael Sonn. Utility selections include Davien Johnson of Westgate, Shajuan Nora of Loreauville, Brant Leslie of New Iberia, Rhette Viator of Loreauville, Kade Gonsoulin of Catholic High and Mike Latulas of Loreauville.

Robert Segura of Loreauville was chosen as Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to their first state championship.

“They’re great kids and they work hard,” Segura said of his team. “They came together as a team. There was nobody that was about themselves. With today’s society that’s tough to find. It puts a smile on your face.”

Washington, a sophomore, helped lead a young LHS team to the promised land, going 10-1 with a 2.596 ERA in 59 1/3 innings. 

He struck out 83 batters and earned first-team All-District honors, and also batted .419 with a .500 on-base percentage, four doubles, three triples, a homer and 35 RBIs. He also was considered for MVP honors.

“He was probably our guy on the mound,” Segura said. “He’s a great competitor. He brings great energy. He made great strides from his freshman to his sophomore year.”

Poe went 7-2 for CHS also, matching Romero’s 56 1/3 innings pitched and striking out 53 batters while walking 13. He had a 2.734 ERA. The first-team All-District performer also played first base. Jordan said Poe’s two losses were a one-run loss in eight innings in a game where a rain delay affected his starter, and another loss in a relief role, meaning Poe easily could’ve gone unbeaten on the year.

“We were definitely hoping (Poe would turn in that kind of season),” Jordan said. “He got the coaches award at the end of his sophomore year, and in my opinion that means we’re looking for great things next year. (Going 7-2) was huge for us.

“Last year we felt we wore Broc out. This year we didn’t and Jacob Poe had a lot to do with that. We were able to throw him against good teams, too.”

Jenkins, a senior, hit .356 overall with 11 doubles, two triples, one home run and 26 RBIs for Westgate.

Borel, a senior, hit .352 overall and was a three-year starter for NISH. He had seven doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs for the Yellow Jackets with six of those doubles and 10 RBIs in the state’s toughest Class 5A district, which had three of the four teams in the Class 5A semifinals.

Sonnier, one of only two seniors who started every day for Loreauville (two others pitched), hit .336 with four doubles, a home run, 23 RBIs and 32 runs scored and was a second-team All-District pick.

“He was one of those leaders that we had, not necessarily vocal, but he was like a rock,” Segura said. “He’s very solid. The improvement he made in his career was just incredible. It’s a credit to him. He’s a great kid from a great family.

Granger, a senior, batted .365 with seven doubles, two triples, 35 walks, 45 stolen bases and 22 RBIs for the Bobcats.

Dugas batted .438 for CHS as a senior, earning his second straight first-team All-District honors. He had eight doubles, two triples and 29 RBIs and scored 36 with a .49 on-base percentage.

“He just quietly went about his business,” Jordan said. “He’s got a lot of tools. He pitched, he’s got a lot of speed, he had his best year offensively. We moved him to the one-hole, and once we made that move that really helped us offensively. It was really nice to have Broc (the former leadoff hitter) lower in the lineup so he could hit with runners on base.

Romero, a senior, hit .383 for the Jackets with a .444 on-base average. He hit three doubles, a triple and drove in 11 runs. The first-team All-District selection was a two-year starter for New Iberia and committed only two errors in 2018.

LeBlanc hit .366 with five doubles, a triple, a homer, 24 RBIs and 37 stolen bases. He was a senior for Erath.

Sonn hit .324 on the year as a senior. The recent Selma University baseball signee had four doubles, three triples and 20 RBIs with 20 runs scored, turning it up in the playoffs with a .471 average and .591 one-base percentage and .588 slugging percentage.

Johnson hit .369 with a triple, two doubles and 33 runs scored, going .393 in district.

Nora, the Class 2A championship game MVP, batted .390 with a .467 on-base percentage. He hit 12 doubles, a triple and five home runs, drove in 40 runs and scored 31 in earning first-team All-District honors.

“He’s more the vocal leader of the crew,” Segura said. “He got injured probably about the third week and was out for about two weeks. When he came back, once he figured it out, he put up some pretty good numbers.”

Leslie, a senior and another Best of the Teche MVP candidate, hit .417 overall with a .586 on-base percentage. The four-year starter for NISH had 15 doubles, two homers and 23 RBIs and was 6-2 on the mound with a 2.00 ERA, striking out 57 batters in 49 innings.

Viator, a senior shortstop and pitcher for Loreauville, batted .372 with a .478 on-base percentage. He had nine doubles, three triples, three homers and 41 RBIs and scored 36 times. He was a first-team All-District pick.

“He’s very similar to Dale (Sonnier),” Segura said. “He’s not going to wow you with his size but he’s just a competitor. He’s just a rock. You knew he was going to be there.

Gonsoulin, a senior and LSU-Eunice signee, was a first-team All-District selection who hit ..299 overall with eight doubles, six homers, 41 RBIs and 33 runs scored.

Latulas, a sophomore, hit .429 with a .542 on-base percentage. He had 13 doubles, four triples, five homers, 39 RBIs and 44 runs scored and earned first-team All-District honors. Segura said Latulas is a quiet player in his first year of high school baseball.

“The numbers show he’s a pretty good player,” Segura said. “If I’m not mistaken he was 4-for-4 in the final game.”

Second team Best of the Teche honors were awarded to pitchers Kale Decuir of Highland Baptist (freshman, 4-2, 4.02 ERA in 40 2/3 IP; .395 batting with 24 RBIs), Kenton Sinitiere of Assembly Christian (senior, 41 K in 25 IP; .448 batting, first team ACEL All-State) and Dylan LeBlanc of Catholic High (junior, 4-2, 1 save, 2.471 ERA in 34 IP); catcher Spencer Broussard of Catholic High (senior, 1st team All-District, .345, 5 doubles, 23 RBIs); infielders Jack Vaccarella of Hanson (senior, .381, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HR, 1.106 OPS), Connor Duplantis of Delcambre (junior), Austin Norris of New Iberia (senior, .329, .510 on-base, 3 doubles, 14 RBIs, 15 runs, 3 errors in 80 attempts; 3 year starter) and Kyle Evans of Catholic High (senior, 1st team All-District, Wendy’s Heisman Award winner, .382, 7 doubles, 27 RBIs, 36 runs, .308 OBP); outfielders Brock Broussard of Hanson (senior, .500, 2 doubles, 2 HRs, 1.401 OPS), Matthew LeBourgeois of Centerville (senior, .500, .691 on-base, 22 stolen bases, 25-game streak of games reaching base safely, 25 RBIs, 1 HR, 5 triples, 1st-team All-District) and Zy Alexander of Loreauville (sophomore, .340, .446 OBP, 7 doubles, 1 HR, 19 RBIs, 38 runs); and utility players Luke Frederick of Erath (junior, .361, 4 doubles, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs), Taylor Broome of Assembly Christian (junior, .506, .500 on-base), Sadler Delahoussaye of Highland Baptist (freshman, .380, 1 HR, 24 RBIs, .541 OBP; 2-2, 3.57 ERA, 33 1/3 IP); Kayontae Caesar of Franklin (senior, .418, 12 Ks and 19 BB, 26 runs, 14 RBIs, 3 hbp, 11 steals, .542 OBP, 1st-team All-District), O’Shay Phillips of West St. Mary (senior, .258, 2nd team All-District), Shea Duplechain of Erath (senior, .352, 7 doubles, 15 RBIs; 5-3, 3.4 ERA) and Darian Charles of Westgate (junior, .250, 10 doubles, 2 HR, 18 RBIs, 19 runs).

Honorable mentions include Trevor Baudoin, Parker Nunez, Kevin Hopkins and Hunter Lopez of Delcambre; Tyler LeBlanc and Peyton Hidalgo of Assembly Christian; Myles Liggans of Highland Baptist; Ruston Bertrand of Franklin; Jobe Hebert and Stevie Bourque of Loreauville; Matt Domingues of Erath; Matthew Carey and Henry Shuffler of ESA; Sage Delahoussaye, Trevor Carriere, Zachary Romero and Zain Romero of Westgate; and Cole Lipari and Andrew Thompson of Catholic High.

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