Parish baseball players hoping to get back to minors soon
Major League baseball was another sports league to be affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in America.
Opening day was supposed to be on March 26, but the season is still under suspension. It appears that the earliest they’ll be able to get back on the field will be in the middle of May.
Meanwhile, all of the players are stuck in isolation like the rest of the country, chomping at the bit for their chance to get back to playing the sport they love.
There are three players from Ascension Parish that are hoping to get back to competing in the minor leagues this summer as they continue their uphill climb to the majors.
These three players are St. Amant alum Blayne Enlow and Dutchtown alums Cole Stapler and Caleb Ricca.
Enlow was drafted by the Minnesota Twins straight out of high school, following a run of two straight District 5-5A MVP awards.
The Twins drafted him with the first pick of the third round. The contract that came along with his selection was too good to pass up for Enlow. He signed with the club, instead of going to LSU.
This will be his fourth summer playing in the minors.
Last year, he began the summer playing for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He went 4-3 with a 4.57 ERA.
He was then promoted to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. There, he went 4-4 with an ERA of 3.38.
Overall, he had a 3.82 ERA last summer, and added 95 strikeouts.
Stapler is a former District 5-5A MVP and All-State standout. While at Dutchtown, he actually pitched a perfect game.
He was originally drafted by the Marlins in the 35th round of the draft, but he decided to go to Nichols State instead.
Stapler played four years there. His best season was as a senior when he went 7-6 with a 3.44 ERA. It earned him All-Southland Conference second team.
Three years ago, he was drafted in the 22nd round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Like Enlow, this is will be his fourth summer pitching in the minors.
Stapler began last year pitching for the Visalla Rawhide, where he went 3-6 with a 3.36 ERA and 87 strikeouts.
He was then promoted to the Double-A level as a member of the Jackson Generals. He flourished, going 4-0 with a 2.57 ERA.
He was sensational in his last 10 appearances, going a perfect 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 35 strikeouts.
Ricca was a two-time first-team all-district player at Dutchtown, before signing with Northwestern State.
As his freshman season progressed, he took over the starting spot at short stop, and he never let it go. He ended his career starting 150 straight games--including all 62 of the Demons' matchups in 2019.
As a junior, he ranked second on the team with a .309 batting average and 35 RBIs. He led the squad in hits (67), doubles (17), walks (31) and stolen bases (24). He also shared the team lead in triples with three.
His 24 stolen bases led the Southland Conference and was tied for 10th-most in Northwestern State single-season history. His 47 career stolen bases ranks 10th all time at the school.
Ricca was drafted by the Seattle Mariners during last spring. The Mariners selected him in the 23rd round.
In his first summer playing in the minors, Ricca experienced some growing pains.
Playing with the Marlins’ rookie league squad, he hit .214, but when he moved to the West Virginia Power of Class A, his averaged dropped to .114.
Overall, he hit .176 last summer. He’s hoping to improve those numbers in 2020, now with a year of experience in the minors under his belt.