DHS baseball program continued to grow in 2019
The Donaldsonville Tigers may have been one and done in the playoffs, but this will be a season in which their players, coaches and fans will never forget.
It wasn't that long ago when Donaldsonville barely had enough players to field a team. It wasn't that long ago when they were winning two and three games in an entire season. Now, things have taken quite the dramatic turn for the program.
In 2017, Garrett Maum took over as head coach, and ever since then, the players have fed off of his enthusiasm and passion for the game.
Kids at the school began to want to play baseball. They wanted to come to practice every day. They wanted to win. And they did.
In the seven years prior to Maum's tenure, Donaldsonville had won just 11 games. In his first season there, the Tigers went 12-2.
The following year, the program took a big step forward. They began to play a full schedule--which included district competition.
The Tigers had their share of struggles adapting. They went just 8-17 overall. However, one of their victories was their first in district play in at least 10 years.
After taking their lumps in 2018, Donaldsonville responded with one of their best seasons in decades.
In 2019, the Tigers went 17-11. The 17 wins were the most for the program since at least 2000. Also, Donaldsonville won two district games.
But most importantly, the Tigers earned a playoff berth. It was the first time the program reached the postseason since 1986.
With the playoff split that separates select and non-select schools, there may have been some doubters questioning whether or not Donaldsonville deserved to be in the postseason. The Tigers proved them wrong with their performance in the first round.
Donaldsonville drew a tough road matchup against eighth-seeded Jena, a team that went 25-8 during the regular season. The Tigers more than held their own, falling in a one-run thriller, 3-2.
Coach Maum was proud of the way his team handled the tough environment.
"It was a packed house," Maum said. "Their fans were beating drums and blowing airhorns. There was plenty of tailgating before, during and after the game. It was definitely a playoff environment; you could feel the energy on the field. However, by the last two innings, the atmosphere changed--their crowd had become quiet, holding their breath with every pitch.
"I talked to Coach (Colton) Knuckols after the game, and talking about his own team, he said, 'As quiet as Jena fans were and as humble as Jena players were in the postgame conference, you would have thought we lost the game.' That means a lot coming from him."
Maum went on to praise his team's performance against a top-10 seed on the road.
"Our guys played their butts off. I couldn't have asked for more," Maum said. "Jena was extremely well-coached and played with lots of passion. However, our guys never flinched; we matched them blow for blow. We played with courage and never backed down.
"From the mound, Tim Campbell did his job--throwing strikes and making them put the ball in play. When they did, our defense stepped up to the challenge. Trevon Mitchell, our catcher, played a heck of a game. When they did get on base, he eliminated a lot with his play.
"Offensively, freshman Treveyon Brown came up clutch for us, showing his metal with a two-outs double in the seventh. Their ace was mid-80s with a hook, and for a freshman to come up with that hit was big."
Maum went on to thank all of the Tiger fans that traveled the three and a half hours to see the team play.
Donaldsonville will lose some of the key players that made this program resurgence possible--players like Campbell, Mitchell and Charles Brown.
But the future still looks bright for the Tigers. In 2020, they'll bring back talented freshman Treveyon Brown, along with starters Trevon Dunn, Brandon Williams, Tiy'quan Hoyal and DJ Gibbs.