There wasn’t a weak link in the lineup for the St. Mary’s High School baseball team this season.
District 3-1A coaches agreed. Everybody in the Tigers’ lineup earned all-district honors.
St. Mary’s posted a run-rule victory in every district contest and that was reflected in the all-district voting. Senior pitcher and first baseman Patrick Vienne was the obvious choice as the District Most Valuable Player, and Brooks McMinn was the clear-cut pick as Coach of the Year.
The Tigers finished 29-8, with a non-district resume that included wins over Class 4A St. Thomas More and Franklin Parish, a series win at another 4A toughie, Northwood of Shreveport, a triumph over 3A Westlake, and a win over 2A Many.
Vienne, already signed to play at national junior college power LSU-Eunice, was 9-2 on the mound with a 2.78 earned run average while striking out 106 hitters in 61 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .474 with 14 doubles, three triples and nine home runs.
The senior has been selected to play in the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Star Game, which includes Class of 2021 players from teams in all classifications.
The Tigers’ other senior, Noah Heard, headed the rest of their all-district selections. Two other freshmen outfielders, Ben Bienvenu and Ethan Busby, made the squad.
Junior Graeme Fidelak, at shortstop, was joined by freshmen Nathan Slaughter (third base), Mixon Bankston (second base), Drake Griffin (catcher) and Payne Williams (utility, as a first baseman and pitcher), and Vienne (utility, pitcher and first baseman).
“I was very, very proud of these kids,” said McMinn. “You look at our lineup and six of our nine starters are freshmen. Those boys have only had playoff experience in one football game. But they stood tall in our two playoff series, two three-game series, with a lot of pressure with every pitch. They had to grow up a lot in some pretty intense playoff games, and I think that will help us going forward as they play football, basketball and come back for baseball.”
St. Mary’s earned the fourth seed in the Division IV playoffs and came within one inning of advancing through the quarterfinals to the state tournament, after Catholic-Pointe Coupee pushed across the decisive runs in the seventh and final inning of the third game in the quarterfinal playoff series last Friday night.