Smaller-than-normal signing classes in the fall and spring meant one thing for Northwestern State baseball – it had to pick up the pace in the summer.
First-year head coach Bobby Barbier and recruiting coordinator G.T. McCullough did just that, securing seven signatures for the 2017 season.
“There are opportunities to sign guys late here,” Barbier said. “Some really good players who mature later in their career. We have that with this class. We’ve got some depth in the infield. We lost some guys on the mound, and we definitely needed some depth in that bullpen along with guys who can compete for starting spots. This class definitely accomplished that.”
Joining the Demons in the fall are four Louisiana high school signees and a trio of junior college players.
The Pelican State products are Lafayette High School teammates first baseman Hudson Laborde and right-handed pitcher/outfielder Emile Lege, Teurlings Catholic infielder Chaney Dodge and Airline left-handed pitcher/outfielder Cameron Taylor.
NSU’s JUCO haul includes a pair of Pearl River (Miss.) teammates catcher/first baseman Carter Hankins and pitcher John Carter Sanner and Eastern Oklahoma State catcher Hunter Uzzle.
Dodge, Laborde and Lege form a decorated Acadiana-area trio of Demons.
Dodge was an integral part of Teurlings’ state championship team, earning first-team all-state and first-team all-district honors. He started all 39 games for the Rebels at third base, batting .347 with a .508 on-base percentage. Dodge scored 30 runs and drove in 28 while stealing 11 bases in 14 tries.
A few miles from Dodge, teammates Laborde and Lege decided to keep that label and both sign with the Demons.
Lege enjoyed success on the mound (45 strikeouts in 44 innings) and at the plate (.356, 4 HR, 28 RBIs) for the Mighty Lions, earning first-team all-Acadiana, first-tem, all-district and all-metro honors. He was a member of the all-tournament team at the WWBA Championships in Atlanta and was a 2015 Perfect Game Super 25 national champion.
Taylor, like Lege, could find a home as a two-way player for the Demons.
The District 1-5A MVP and Pitcher of the Year posted an 8-1 record with 1.42 ERA for the Vikings, striking out 64 batters in 59 innings. Taylor is a three-time all-parish selection, an all-city pick by The (Shreveport) Times and an honorable mention all-state performer.
Taylor joins Airline teammate Peyton Davis as Demons signees. Davis signed with NSU in the spring.