Patterson High School's Don Diaz
(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Many sophomores getting playing time for 'Jacks
There’s a heavy sophomore influence on the Patterson High School baseball team.
The Lumberjacks, who lost five senior starters a year ago, have played plenty of underclassmen, particularly sophomores, this season on their way to a 13-11 mark, including a 3-6 record in District 8-3A action.
“This season we had ton of goals and expectations for our baseball program,” second-year Patterson Coach Blayze Romero said. “Our players understand that we expect a lot out of each and every one of them. We hold these players to high standards, and we expect them to succeed in all aspects of the game. The culture on the team right now is phenomenal. The players are trusting each other and believing in the program. We have a talented group of young guys who have really stepped up for us this year.”
Two of Patterson’s top three pitchers are sophomores as the Lumberjacks’ No. 2 pitcher is sophomore Joseph Larson while Don Diaz is the team’s relief/closing pitcher.
In the infield, the Lumberjacks feature sophomores at first base (Jonathan Cheely), second base (Kaden Samuels), third base (Diaz or Larson) and left field (Dylan Fabre). Larson also will play second base when he doesn’t pitch or he will play shortstop when the team’s top pitcher, junior Reid Perkins, isn’t manning his usual shortstop position.
While the team does feature a heavy dose of sophomores in the lineup, there are some upperclassmen.
Senior Noah Bryant is the team’s starting catcher after making the move from shortstop where he played in 2018. Juniors Julius Albert, Amarea Christopher and Randy Paul hold down the designated hitter, right field and centerfield positions, respectively.
In addition to Bryant, other seniors on the team are Telvae Phillips and Irvin Celestine, who both have received playing time.
Paul is a returning Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A Honorable Mention All-State selection from a year ago.
“Randy Paul’s our leader of our team,” Romero said last month. “Our team’s going to go as Randy Paul goes.”
Patterson is ranked No. 15 in the latest Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 3A power rankings.
In District 8-3A, six of the seven teams are playoff eligible, as per the latest power rankings. Of those, two are in the top four in Class 3A as Erath is ranked No. 2 and Berwick is ranked No. 4.
Patterson will return to action Tuesday when it hosts North Vermilion in District 8-3A play. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.