The South Louisiana Select 13U Major Elite baseball team based in Houma entered the U.S. Specialty Sports Association World Series in Orlando, Fla., on July 22 as the country’s No. 1 ranked team in its division.
On Saturday night, South Louisiana Select proved more than worthy of that distinction when it topped the Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Tigers 4-3 to take home a USSSA national championship.
South Louisiana Select, a team comprised of boys ages 13 and under, finished 6-0-1 at the 25-team tourney held at the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to end its season 57-13-3 overall. It averaged 10 runs per game heading into the title matchup.
Team members included Adam Jenkins, Roth John, Jean-Luc Lapeyre, Patrick Lecompte, Camden Plaisance, Caden Powell, Connor Matherne, Carter Fabre, Eli David, Dylan Fabregas, Caleb Bergeron, Marquette Scott, Jake Gorelick, Collin Gravois, Cade Bergeron and Logan O’Neil.
The team was coached by head coach Lanc Crochet and assistants Cobie Savoie and Kevin Lecompte.
South Louisiana Select, which like other teams in the tournament had to qualify for the event, got a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning from Caleb Bergeron that scored Lapeyre to give the team the title.
Lapeyre singled to start the inning, stole second and took third on a wild pitch before David and Powell were intentionally walked setting the stage for Caleb Bergeron’s championship-clinching hit, which ignited a celebratory dog pile.
Fabre started the title game on the mound and worked the first two innings and David came in to pitch the final five innings in relief.
“The kids’ effort at practice was the key. We practiced two or three times a week for two and a half or three hours,” Crochet said. “The guys always brought their best regardless of the weather or how we played on the weekend or what happened at school or outside of baseball. They always brought the effort, intensity and focus to practice. They are an unbelievable group. They bought into the system and trusted the process and trusted one another.”
Along with being ace of the staff, David saw time at shortstop, second base and catcher for the team and said winning the title was surreal.
“I was completely shocked,” David said. “I had so many emotions, that I can’t even explain it. A team from a small little town like Houma won it all. We were so dedicated and we all have a passion for baseball. Baseball became an addition to us. We worked so hard for this. We worked all year to be in that one situation and all the hard work paid off.”
John played first base and outfield and is one of a handful of players on the team who have been together since their 10U year.
“Winning it all felt awesome, especially because we beat a team from Louisiana in the championship. We beat them twice before the championship and they beat us once,” John said. “We believed in we. Our team played together as a team and our team chemistry was just awesome. It was a total team effort.”
Crochet said the team remained completely unselfish throughout its championship run.
“Everything we did was always a team effort,” Crochet said. “They always did it for one another. These kids were unreal. We focus on their development and baseball takes care of itself. The guys loved and cared for one another and always rooted for one another. The guys who have been with us for a while helped set the tone at practice or in games. They were mentally and physically leading the group. We didn’t have any half steppers. Nobody cut corners. They all just always went that extra mile.”