Senior players shine at All-Star Baseball Classic

Terrebonne's Breagan Liner of the South is tagged out by South Lafourche's Norry Galjour Saturday in Houma. (Photo by Keyon K. Jeff/Correspondent)

High school seniors got one more opportunity to showcase their baseball skills at Southland Field in Houma on Saturday.

The fifth annual HTV-10 Friday Night Sports All-Star Classic presented by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center featured seniors from Terrebonne, Lafourche, Assumption and St. Mary parishes.

The doubleheader pitted the North team (E.D. White Catholic, South Lafourche, Central Lafourche, Assumption and Morgan City) against the South team (South Terrebonne, Vandebilt Catholic, Terrebonne, H.L. Bourgeois, Ellender, Covenant Christian and Houma Christian).

"It's just a great event to give these seniors one last opportunity to play in front of family and friends," said Houma Christian head coach Chuck Battaglia, who helmed the South team. "They can relax and have a little fun and enjoy this game."

The South All-Stars won the first game 8-1; the North All-Stars took the second game 15-7 in six innings.

In Game 1, Vandebilt's Jacob Walker dominated in a complete game victory, throwing five strikeouts, forced 11 groundouts and allowed five hits. He also belted a two-run double to help his cause.

"At first I was a little shaky during warm-ups, but once I got on the mound I got my zone that I usually pitch," Walker said. "I was thankful our defense played great behind me too. They did a really good job catching all the balls."

The South scored twice in the first inning when a balk by E.D. White pitcher and University of New Orleans signee Payton Coddou (five strikeouts, three hits and two runs in four innings) plated Covenant Christian's Rustin Guidry; then an error by E.D. White's Logan Barbera brought home Terrebonne's Justin Williams, a LSU signee and projected first-round pick in this year's Major League Baseball draft.

A double from Williams (2-for-2, RBI) scored Guidry in the third, and South Terrebonne's Kurt Arceneaux plated in the fourth on a Randall Soilleau sacrifice fly. A four-run fifth inning by the South, capped by Walker's (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) two-run double, finished off the North.

"We came out early and took advantage of being aggressive on the bases," Battaglia said. "Jacob did an exceptional job on the mound, and Justin came up with some big hits."

The lone North run came in the sixth when Barbera scored off a wild pitch.

The North All-Stars got revenge in Game 2, pounding out 13 hits and had a pair of six-run innings in their win. E.D. White's Scott Szush, a Southeastern Louisiana signee, earned the win with four strikeouts, permitted three hits and three runs. South Terrebonne's Seth Cadiere took the loss for the South, allowing three hits, five runs and three walks in two-thirds of an inning.

A triple by South Lafourche's Norry Galjour (2-for-2, 2 RBIs) plated E.D. White's Jace Toups in the first for a 1-0 North lead.

The South responded with three runs in the second. A single from Vandebilt's Blake Talbot (2-for-2, RBI) scored Terrebonne's Breagan Liner; then Bourgeois' DeAndre Woods plated on a groundout, and Talbot came home on an error.

The North answered with a six-run third. Barbera (2-for-3 RBI) began the onslaught when he blasted a solo home run over the left-field fence. Morgan City's Ryan Veillion (2-for-2, 2 RBIs) had a two-run double, and E.D. White's Nick Falgout added a two-run single in the frame.

"I just saw a fastball and swung as hard as I could. I thought it had some distance to leave the park," said Barbera. "It felt good to do that in the All-Star game. All these guys work hard to be here."

After scoring twice in the fourth, the North put together another six-run inning in the fifth. E.D. White's Brendon Gros and Central Lafourche's Kerry Gregory (2-for-4) hit RBI singles; Assumption's Slye Ourso smacked a two-run single; Veillion score on an error and Falgout plated when Galjour was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the North a 15-4 advantage.

"We just started hitting the ball well. Logan's home run, that was just a great at-bat there," said E.D. White assistant coach David Constant, who led the North squad. "It just kept rolling from there. I'm just proud to be a part of this. It was a fun day."

Rather than enforce the mercy rule, everyone agreed to play another frame. The South scored three runs in the final inning.

The most important thing for the players was to have the kind of fun that only comes from high school athletics.

"It's an honor to play with all these guys," Barbera said. "It was fun to play with guys I've been playing against the past five years."

"It was still bittersweet," Williams said, "but it ended on a good note."