Handful of Trojan baseball players gain experience
With the loss of the 2019 high school baseball season, the Sacred Heart Trojans did not get the opportunity to gain the valuable game experience needed to move the program to the next level.
However, several of the players that will return to the team in the spring got the chance to make up for lost time, as they competed against some of the top talent around the country playing for various showcase teams this summer.
“Because we missed this past season, it was important that these guys were able to go out and get challenged, to fail and get out there and see what it takes to be one of the most talented players in the country,” stated Sacred Heart head baseball coach Gary Ashworth. “These guys got to watch, play with and against some amazingly talented players anywhere.”
“They were able to get innings on the mound and at-bats that they were unable to get because of the shutdown in the regular season,” Ashworth continued. “My hope is that they will take what they learned this past summer and bring that knowledge back to the team come spring. When you get to experience what they were able to experience, it gives you a different mind-set on how to become a great player.”
Some of the players that played over the summer included Trojan newcomer for 2021 Zeph Arnold, veterans Issac Leger, Kyle Miller, Hayden Fontenot, Alex McElwee, Briggs Ardoin and Hayden Droddy.
Arnold, a transfer from Bunkie, has been rated as the No. 1 recruit in Louisiana for the class of 2022. The junior right handed pitcher had 53 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched with a 1.02 ERA.
Arnold only gave up 11 hits total in that same time frame spent on the mound, which amounted to a .128 batting average against. Arnold threw consistently in the 90-94 mph range, with a top speed of 95 mph.
Leger performed in the World Wood Bat Association playing for United 16. The young first baseman hit .330 for the summer and learned some valuable skills to take to the diamond in the spring.
“This summer was a great chance to play in front of scouts and to build friendships with players from all over the country,” said Leger. “I was able to show what I could do on the baseball field. Getting the chance to see guys throwing 90 plus mile per hour allowed me to learn how to pick up the ball earlier. One important thing I was able to come away with was the ability to improve my approach at the plate. I learned how to change my mind set and focus on picking up pitches better.”
Junior pitcher Kyle Miller joined Leger on United 16 and had a solid summer season. The hurler threw 31 innings, producing a 3.50 ERA while striking out 17 and throwing nine scoreless innings.
Senior Alex McElwee donned the uniform for Team Louisiana this summer and hit .390 for his club. The outstanding catcher found some new techniques that will allow him to become a bigger force behind the plate in 2021.
“Since last season got cut short, it was important to go and play some summer baseball,” commented McElwee. “The big thing I was able to work on this summer was the framing of the baseball. That’s an important skill to learn because it could mean the difference between a ball and a strike. I was also able to work on my plate discipline. I want to go back this spring and bring the knowledge I picked up to my teammates to hopefully make them better.”
Hayden Fontenot make an impact this summer as well, hitting .480 for Barnes Academy.
Both Ardoin and Droddy got time with Sheets Baseball, with Ardoin getting an invitation to the New Balanced Future Stars prospect event for those 15 and under.