Mother Nature stepped in the way of their first scheduled game Monday, but the Port Allen Pelicans are ready to get back into action with Metro League baseball this week.
The Pelicans were set to face Walker on Tuesday and travel to Tara for a 5 p.m. game Thursday.
Coach Josh Laborde said he’s looking for one important building block for his team during the season, which continues through early July.
“This is all about experience – and that’s what held us up last season,” the second-year head coach said. “We want to let them learn and do it in a stress-free environment, where it’s not just all about playoffs. They’re here to learn.”
The standouts who made a mark in regular season will be in the thick of action this summer.
Ace pitcher Alex Hebert, who had 101 strikeouts last season, will make a big showing, Laborde said. He also expects a strong effort form incoming seniors Malik Green and Lorenzo Osborne, as well as incoming junior Kevin Ransom.
“They all have a few years under the belt, so I look for some leadership from them this summer and for them to show continued growth,” he said.
He also hopes his team learns a thing or two about consistency.
“We’ve had several games against some very good teams, but we had that one big inning where everything fell apart,” he said. “We’re looking to eliminate the one-inning monster and not let things go against us so badly.
“It’s all a matter of putting together seven complete innings of baseball,” he said.
Enthusiasm ranks as the strongest quality in his players this summer, Laborde said.
“The biggest thing is that these guys want to succeed and they want to learn,” he said. “It’s hard to make someone want to learn, want to work and want to do better. That helps a lot and makes it easier on any coaches.
“When you have effort, all you have fundamentals,” Laborde said.
The schedule includes a variety of teams, ranging from public to parochial and from Class B to 5A.
“The variety helps,” Laborde said. “You’ll see different looks and different styles.
“Some of these teams we played during the regular season, so you’ll get that preseason look in some of these games, but with others it’s just good to see how you stand against that caliber of competition,” he said. “That’s especially the case against programs like Episcopal or Walker.”
The league also has 2014 MPSA state champion Central Private and Class 1A semifinalist St. John.
“We have some good teams and some good quality kids,” Laborde said. “This will be a step up and a big help for our guys.”