Iberville's up river neighbors

Tryve Brackin

I read a wonderful article by former Brusly baseball assistant coach Fred Aldrich in the metro daily newspaper last week that brought back a ton of memories.

My very first assignment as the POST SOUTH sports editor in 1977 was to cover the Brusly High early season diamond tournament. Basketball had just ended with Plaquemine High taking state runner-up honors in a title game loss to district rival Redemptorist, so I headed to Brusly on a freezing early March weekend to watch Brusly host both Iberville Parish prep rivals and other neighbors.

Then POST SOUTH newspaper owner Gary Hebert wanted to include West Baton Rouge Parish neighbor Brusly for two reasons: The Panthers had a very good team returning that spring and his sister’s two boys played on the ball club. I saw a lot of Brusly diamond games that spring and into the 1980s, but I was aware WBR had its own weekly newspaper, located in Port Allen. I eventually covered Brusly sports as a sideline to Iberville sports, concentrating on Parish programs. Five Iberville school sports programs kept me busy and I wanted all to have solid coverage.

Looking back that Brusly diamond team was one of the very best I had ever watched play. St. John and PHS had numerous great baseball teams that highly achieved (three state runner-up finishes in my 35 years of coverage). I was only 27 years old that first year at the POST, and I got closest to the PHS Green Devil team with whom I clicked. But I really enjoyed watching that great 1977 Brusly team, the third and last in the school’s history to notch a state diamond crown. I remember each and every one of the Panther players, and Coach Boo Marioneaux was pleased to have me come around. I considered pitcher and slugger Mike Titone the best all-around player on the team, but all-state pitcher Darren “Skip” Sarradet gave the club a one-two championship level punch.  The Sarradets (Skip and younger brother Shane) were part of the Hebert family, but also had ties to me. I worked for their father at Godchaux’s department store three years before. I left the famed Baton Rouge store for employment in the newspaper business and eventually ended up at the POST SOUTH. 

The Brusly club was a team invested in each other. In later years, Darrel “Whip” Wilson became a non-staff instructor in the sport of wrestling and helped develop a number of great mat sport championships since the late 1970s. Infielder Mark Tassin anchored the defense and joined Skip Sarradet on the all-state first-team honors at season’s end. But boosting the team to the title were Keith Landry and Mike Berthelot, whose back-to-back home runs pushed the Panthers to the 1977 Class 2-A crown.

Those 1977 Panthers were an outstanding TEAM.

And, the team members hit with grief only a year later when standout catcher Warren “Stump” Wilson was killed in an accident on Highway 1. His untimely death also impacted me…a younger man than myself had lost his life. That opened my still youthful eyes to the fact that life is fragile. Today at 69 I also understand that it is brief in the cosmos of human understanding. Live to 100 years old is only a footnote in time, and time rules all existence. 

NOTES:

… Brusly High won a golf meet at the Island in Plaquemine in recent days behind the leadership of Max Gautreau, who shot a 79 on the par 72 course. St. John High placed second, edging out Plaquemine High by shooting one point lower, 376 to 397. SJHS’ Preston Acosta finished third in the event with an 86 score. 

…Brusly High’s girls track team also won its annual Red and Gold Track Meet last week. Veteran sprinter Ta’La Sprates paced the victorious effort by anchoring winning Lady Panther sprint relay units. She also won the 100-meter dash with one of the best times recorded in the state this early spring season. She ran a blazing 12.6 seconds in the race.

Meanwhile, St. John High’s girls were led in the Red and Gold gathering by Annie McLin, who won the meet’s 100-meter hurdles (17.14 time) and was second in the 300-meter hurdles (51.06 time).

…And, finally, Ascension Catholic of Donaldsonville came within a point of tying for second place in Division V state weightlifting recently. Ascension Christian placed 11th in the division. Both neighboring Ascension Parish private schools participate in District 6-1A sports with Iberville’s St. John, White Caste, and East Iberville High.