With only a few games left before they’ll head to the playoff, the St. John Eagles are sitting on 16-2 record overall and 7-0 district records after recent wins over Kentwood, 2-1, and 14-3 over West Feliciana.
Coach Jason Kinchen gives all the credit to his players and assistant coaches.
On the mound, he depends on Reese Barilleaux, who he describes as “a potential college player that has electric stuff,” a “reliable starter” Tre’ Dupont – “a control pitcher that battles and gives us quality innings” – and Landon LeBlanc.
“Landon has great stuff and he’s been used as a starter and a closer at times,” Kinchen said. “If he’s on the mound, it’s usually because the game is on the line.”
Kinchen said key players at the plate include Adam Blanchard, whose “impact has definitely been noticed with his timely hitting, Grant Blanchard, who “has come up with some clutch hits and is extremely valuable on defense and as a baserunner,” Adam Theriot, who “has been outstanding in the field and has had some key hits this season,” and Josh Carbo.
“Josh battles every at-bat and finds ways to get on base,” Kinchen said. “His on-base percentage is one of the top on the team.”
He called Dupont “a big threat at the plate, a true baseball player,” said Landon “is a dynamic player and a fierce competitor” at the plate, and had lots of praise for Ben Bucher.
“As a hitter, Ben has been lights out,” Kinchen said. “He is crushing everything that is thrown…the baseball looks like a beach ball to him.”
“Collin Barbee has been Mr. Clutch all season,” according to his coach. “He completes every at-bat has quality at-bats every time…He has gap power and runs well.”
Third baseman Justin Rivet “has a tremendous upside as a player,” Kinchen said. “He’s put together well and has plenty of tools. As of late, he’s been driving in big runs and making game-saving plays.”
Between the faith he has in his players and his coaches, John Barbee, “who does everything for the program…calls pitching and works with our pitchers,” Neal Noel, who “is dedicated…and lends an ear to me when I get frustrated,” and Gary Haydel, who “is very knowledgeable about the game and gives insight at key times,” Kinchen is confident about this year’s squad.
“Our goal is simple and that is to win the state championship,” he said. “Everyone is on board and ‘we believe.’”