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H.L. Bourgeois baseball field gets new scoreboard

The H.L. Bourgeois High baseball field has a new scoreboard. (Photo by Brent St. Germain/Staff)

GRAY — The H.L. Bourgeois High School motto is "A Matter of Pride."

The Braves baseball team could find little pride in the old scoreboard at its field last season after it stopped working with four games left in the District 7-5A schedule.

After a plea to the school to help pay for a new scoreboard was rejected, second-year Braves baseball coach John Gatlin, the H.L. Bourgeois athletic booster club, a few parents of players on the team and some area businesses stepped in to help raise money for a new one.

The cost and installation of the new Fair-Play scoreboard came in at $16,071, and it was completed and installed in right-center field by Rainey Electronics early last month.

"Everyone pitched in to help with this," Gatlin said. "We understand that everyone is tight with money these days, but we felt like this was something we needed to get done."

Gatlin said local businesses Coastal Dredging Company, Boudreau and Thibodeau's Cajun Cookin' and McDonald's bought sponsorship panels on the scoreboard to help with some of the cost.

"We really appreciate those guys buying those panels," Gatlin said. "It was a big help."

H.L. Bourgeois senior utility player Christian Bergeron said while a new scoreboard may seem like a small thing to some, it can go a long way in helping the morale of the team.

"The new scoreboard was definitely necessary. It gives us something to take pride in," Bergeron said. "We have done a lot of work to the field this season. We are looking forward to seeing the new scoreboard light up."

Gatlin, who helped raise money for lights at Terrebonne's baseball field behind Southdown Elementary School in Houma when he was coaching there from 2003-08, also said continuing to improve the athletic facilities at H.L. Bourgeois is important for many reasons.

"We have schools around us growing every day," Gatlin said. "If we don't improve our facilities and keep things rolling, we are going to lose more and more students. We have a really good thing going on here. We have some good students, some good athletes and some good parents."

The prep baseball season starts in late February, and while H.L. Bourgeois has not made the postseason since 2008 and finished 6-21 overall and 1-11 in district last season, Gatlin said there is a lot to look forward to from the Braves in 2013.

"If anyone watched our games last season, they could tell we were playing better baseball," Gatlin said. "We were playing much better. We were really young, and we will be pretty young again with only five returning seniors, but we are playing competitive baseball, and I think some good things are going to happen for us this year. I really do."

Bergeron too said he is looking forward to the start of the season.

"The scoreboard was really the first new thing we have gotten since I have been at H.L. Bourgeois, and this season is looking pretty promising," Bergeron said. "Maybe it will get more people to come watch us play."