Boys of summer

Kyle Riviere
Ascension Catholic's Ross Ponville was an All-Parish selection. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

There’s no doubt about it, the 2017 baseball season was one of the strongest, top to bottom, that Ascension has seen in quite some time.

Five of the six schools made the playoffs, and the one team that didn’t make the postseason, finished with a 12-2 record.

Putting together the All-Parish team was quite the challenge. The second team was probably the hardest to finalize, because there were a few names that unfortunately had to be left off of the list.

St. Amant couldn’t quite recapture the magic of last season when they reached the state quarterfinals, but it was still a year of great accomplishment for the Gators.

They went 15-4 in their final 19 games, finished tied with Dutchtown as runners-up in District 5-5A and they upset No. 14 Ruston in the opening round of the playoffs.

LSU signee Blayne Enlow was again dominant for St. Amant as their ace. He gave the Gators a legit chance to beat anyone when he was on the mound.

Unfortunately, there were times in the season when St. Amant’s offense or the defense behind Enlow failed to match his intensity.

It’s no surprise that for the second straight season, Enlow has been named the Parish Pitcher of the Year.

He was joined on the first team by infielder Larson Fontenot and outfielder Zane Zeppuhar.

Ascension Catholic had the most successful season of any parish team.

The Bulldogs had made it to the state quarterfinals three years in a row coming into 2017, but they hadn’t made it to the semifinals since 2005.

Well, after a dominating 10-1 victory over Catholic of Pointe Coupee, Ascension Catholic finally returned to Sulphur for the state tournament.

Once there, they came within an eye lash of upsetting top-seeded Central Catholic and reaching the title game. They ended up losing in an 11-inning marathon effort.

In bringing the Bulldogs to the quarterfinals for the fourth straight year and the state semifinals for the first time in over a decade, Todd Landry was honored as the Parish Coach of the Year.

When it came to position players, Ascension Catholic’s Nick Bellina was selected as the Parish MVP.

The LSU-Eunice signee was a tremendous three-way threat for the Bulldogs this season.

Not only was he a tremendous fielder, but he also stepped up as a strong third option on the mound, and behind the plate, he was deadly.

He had a knack for coming up with huge hits all season.

In their quarterfinal victory, he hit a grand slam that put the game away. In their semifinal loss, he came up with two RBIs.

Joining Bellina on the All-Parish first team was outfielder Mason Zeringue and fellow LSU-Eunice signee Landon Clifton.

Clifton has been the best pitcher in the parish not named Blayne Enlow for the past two years. He had another strong season in helping lead the Bulldogs to the state tournament.

I thought this might be a rebuilding year for Dutchtown after losing so many starters from last season—including almost their entire pitching staff. They proved me wrong.

Many first-year starters stepped up big time for the Griffins and led them to a second-place finish in the district and a first-round playoff game that they nearly won in eight innings.

Dutchtown had the most players make the All-Parish team with seven.

Leading the charge was Nicholls signee Cameron Crawford. He was joined on the first team by Cameron Sibley and Jack Merrifield.

Austin Bankert came out of nowhere to become one of the best pitchers in the parish as he made the second team.

East Ascension has a new head coach in Kade Keowen, and he’ll surely miss not having the two seniors that made the All-Parish first team in catcher Jacob Thompson and utility player Noah Fonteot. Thompson has made the first team two years in a row.

Ascension Christian finished as runner-up in District 6-1A and won their first ever playoff game. With such great success, three Lions made the All-Parish team.

Senior utility player Peyton Bahlinger made the first team, while impressive sophomore pitcher Nic Montalbano and utility player Landon Ortego were second-team selections.

Though no Donaldsonville players made the team, I have to give a shout-out to the Tigers. They finished the season at 12-2—which gave them their first winning season in over 17 years.

Tre’von Mitchell just missed out on making the team. Mitchell did it all for the Tigers this year—shining from the mound, at catcher and as one of their top hitters.