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Pelicans look to build baseball program on youth

Written by Claire Chenevert on .

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Baseball season is now in full swing for the Port Allen Pelicans. Scotlandville, Broadmoor, White Castle, and Madison Prep all participated in Port Allen’s jamboree Saturday.

In their first game, the Pels tied 3-3 against White Castle and tied 5-5 against Madison Prep.

White Castle was leading 3-0 in the 3rd inning when Malik Green got a base hit. With two outs, Lorenzo Osborne hit a double, allowing Green to score the Pelicans’ first run of the game. On Brant Decuir’s base hit, Osborne crossed home plate and on Morris Miller’s base hit, Payson Swarner, who was a substitute base runner, scored the third and final run for the Pels.

This year’s team can be summarized in one word according to Pelicans’ head baseball coach Josh Laborde: inexperienced.

“They’re learning,” said Laborde. “They’re so young and so inexperienced, but they’re learning.”

Laborde gave credit to the Pels’ young squad for their effort during the jamboree.

“I thought Alex Hebert did great on the mound,” said Laborde. “Misunderstanding counts hurt us in the early innings while batting, but defensively, I was really proud.”

The 2014 Pelicans team is comprised of two seniors; four juniors, two of whom are playing for the first time ever; four sophomores, two whom are playing for the first time ever; and a large class of freshmen.

A couple of freshmen have even found their way to the starting line up.

“Freshman Donald Vance started at 2nd base and made some big plays for us today,” said Laborde. “Brant Rebelle started left field and got a hit. We’re putting big time pressure on these guys.”

With few returning members, the team will be in the process of rebuilding this season.

“Everything this year’s in baby steps,” said Laborde. “We have a lot of guys that just don’t have the years of experience that an average high school player has. If an average high school starts playing T-ball at five, by the time they get to high school, they have 10 years. Our team average is two (years). In a big program, they’re teaching fine tuned strategies, and we’re focusing on the very basics: making an out at first and how to lay down a bunt.”

In spite of the youth of his team, Laborde is eager to work with the guys.

“This is a great group of kids,” said Laborde. “They have low experience, but high character. There’s a lot of positive energy surrounding the team. Last year we had a lot of problems internally, but I don’t see any of that this year. We elected two team captains that I think are going to do great for us: catcher Morris Miller and shortstop Malik Green. The kids really look up to them.”

This season’s schedule won’t be an easy one for the Pelicans with fierce opponents like U-High, Brusly, Baker, and Parkview Baptist.

“We’re going to struggle in our district,” admitted Laborde. “We have to face 3A state champs and the 3A state runner up. It’s going to be tough, so we’re going to take it very slow and just focus on each day. We’re not going to overwhelm ourselves.”

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