Many parish baseball stars make All-District 6-1A team

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Ascension Catholic's Brock Acosta was a first-team All-District 6-1A selection as a utility player. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

There are different ways to break down the strength of a district, but the most effective method is analyzing the way the teams finish the season.

Well, using that as a measuring stick, you could make a strong case for District 6-1A being the best district in all of Class 1A and Division IV.

The proof is in the pudding. Heading into the Division IV playoffs, St. John was the top seed, while Ascension Catholic came in at No. 3.

And when the playoffs reached the final day, the only two teams that were left standing were the Eagles and the Bulldogs. The two teams played a classic to decide the Division-IV state champion, a classic that ended with Ascension Catholic holding the trophy high.

They weren’t the only District 6-1A teams to reach the state tournament in Sulphur. Kentwood also made it in the Class 1A playoffs.

And now that the season is over, the players that made the district so good are being rewarded. Recently, the All-District 6-1A team was released.

As expected St. John and Ascension Catholic had the most selections. The two teams combined for 17, with the Eagles finishing with a slight edge with nine.

Not to be outdone, Ascension Christian placed six players on the first and second teams.

What a momentous season it was for the Bulldogs.

Despite losing two All-State players and LSU-Eunice signees in Landon Clifton and Nick Bellina, Ascension Catholic won their first state championship since 1994. It was the program’s third state title.

But it didn’t all come easy for the Bulldogs. At one point during the season, they suffered through a five-game losing streak that dropped them to just 6-8 overall.

That’s when the switch was flipped for Ascension Catholic. They closed out the regular season on a 17-game winning streak.

They made a run to the championship game, where they had to face St. John, a team that had beaten them four times in a row, including twice that season. Those two victories came by a combined score of 17-8.

But this time, Ascension Catholic fought off a 2-0 sixth-inning deficit to earn a thrilling 4-3 championship victory.

“I’m so proud of this team,” Bulldog head coach Todd Landry said. “We lost to these guys twice during the regular season. They’re a hell of a team. Hats off to St. John, but our guys battled their tails off all year. For the last 23-24 games, they have played outstanding baseball, and I cannot be more happy for a group of kids.”

Ascension Catholic had six first-team all-district selections.

Senior Charlie Gianelloni made it from the infield. Gianelloni was also one of the Bulldogs’ best pitchers during the year and actually closed out the championship game from the mound.

Junior pitcher Tre’ Medine joined him on the first team. He picked up the huge semifinal victory against Ouachita Christian.

From the outfield, junior Mason Zeringue made the first team. From the infield, junior William Dunn made it. Dunn scored the game-winning run in the title game.

Both Rodney Blanchard and Brock Acosta made the fist team as utility players. Blanchard came up with the winning RBI against St. John.

Sophomore Jai Williams, an All-State running back on the football team, gave baseball a try this season. It paid off as he became a reliable closer for the Bulldogs. He was named second-team all-district pitcher.

Finally, JB Broussard made the second team from the outfield.

Ascension Christian had another productive season in 2018. Despite losing ace Nic Montalbano with a shoulder injury, they still went 24-8 during the regular season.

In the playoffs, they pushed second-seeded Ouachita Christian to a decisive game three in their best-of-three first-round playoff series.

The Lions had two first-team selections.

With Montalbano injured, Mason Braud had to step up. He provided great hitting, pitching and fielding all season. He made the first team from the infield.

Senior K’von Delone was a first-team selection from the outfield.

Recent Louisiana College signee Josh Diez made the second team as a pitcher, and catcher Landon Ortego joined him. Ortego actually hit for the cycle in one of Ascension Christian’s games this season.

The Lions’ final two second-teamers were infielder Sal Montalbano and utility player Tyler Cambre.