No one, least of all the No. 1-ranked Brusly Panthers baseball team, expected the outcome of last Saturday’s semi-final game against Iowa High Yellowjackets in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) State Championship Tournament that ended in a 12-0 shutout of the Panthers.
As disappointing as it was for the team, the players are refusing to let the loss mar the memories of a great season, instead choosing to look at the positive.
“I think we had a great season overall. We didn’t finish how we would have liked but we accomplished a lot more than anyone expected for us to do,” senior catcher Connor Manola said. “Coming into the season, we were hearing that we had no shot at making it back to the state tournament, but we were able to prove those people wrong.”
The game started out just fine, and with senior John Blanchard on the mound, they made it out of the top of the first inning unscathed.
Two singles from Cameron Daigle and Ben Bergeron in the bottom of the first, proved that the Brusly bats were ready to go.
Even with the Panthers down 1-0 in the third inning, no one would have believed the disaster that was about to occur for Brusly in the next inning.
With two outs in the forth, the Panthers were down 4-0, but by the time the inning was over, the Panthers had gone through four of their pitchers and were down 12-0. They never recovered.
Once the shock and disappointment wore off, members of the team were able to look back at the big picture.
“We had a special group that was resilient and never gave up no matter what was thrown at us,” Manola said. “I have no other feelings but love and respect for the 22 other guys that I played along side this year, and I wish the returning underclassmen nothing but the best next year.”
Bergeron echoed his fellow senior and said that excluding the semifinal loss, he wouldn’t change a thing about the 2017 season.
“It was a great experience playing with great teammates and having the best fans around for the past four years,” Bergeron said. “It’s really sad knowing that we’ll never put on a Brusly baseball jersey again, but I can honestly say I’ve cherished every moment of it and it will be missed.”
“It was an honor to put the Brusly uniform on for the past four years and I will always be a huge supporter of Brusly high baseball,” said Manola, who will be playing baseball for Southeastern University next season.