Clarion Herald’s Elite Baseball, Softball Teams
As competitive as they were during their respective district campaigns, New Orleans-area Catholic schools ended the 2016 baseball and softball seasons on a bittersweet note.
St. Charles Catholic and Cabrini were the most successful. Both played for state championships. And the two coaches who led the Comets and Crescents to the final playoff games are recognized for their success.
Wayne Stein, who guided St. Charles Catholic to a runner-up finish in the Class 2A tournament, is named the Clarion Herald Elite Boys’ Baseball Team’s Coach of the Year. In Stein’s first season at the helm, the Comets had an outstanding 29-9 record and a District 8-2A co-championship with Riverside Academy.
On the softball diamond, Shannon Austin took the Cabrini Crescents to the Class 4A finals after sweeping their District 9-4A opponents. They fell short of a title, losing to North DeSoto, 3-0 in the championship game, but Austin earned her second consecutive Coach of the Year honor by the Clarion Herald after Cabrini finished its season with a 27-7 record.
The Clarion Herald began selecting and publishing Elite teams in 1997 to acknowledge outstanding performances by the top athletes who represent schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The best of the group are named the Most Valuable Players.
This season, Brother Martin senior pitcher/outfielder Blair Frederick earned that honor. Of the Crusaders’ 19 victories, Frederick won seven of 10 decisions and posted a 1.45 earned run average.
Most impressive was his strikeout ratio of 96 batters in 62 2/3 innings. Opponents who faced the LSU signee posted an anemic .162 batting average.
Frederick was just as effective with a bat in his hands. He hit for a .370 average. His power drove home 25 runs.The southpaw knew his way around the bases, having stolen 12 bases against the top pitchers he faced in and out of league play.
The choice of the Most Valuable Player in softball was an easy decision. For the second consecutive season, Cabrini’s Karli Perque was the queen of the hill and the most powerful pitcher to hurl in the local Catholic school districts since Mount Carmel’s Meghan Patterson ruled the mound from 2007-2010.
Patterson ended her high school career with 1,225 strikeouts.
Perque ended her high school stay with a career strikeout record of 1,025.
During her senior year – her fourth on the Crescents’ mound – Perque posted a 26-7 record and a 0.93 earned run average. And she set a record of 329 strikeouts in 187 innings pitched.
Her pitching was instrumental in the Crescents advancing to the Class 4A championship game. Although the Crescents lost to North DeSoto in the final game, she ended the season with five no-hitters to her credit. Perque was also the lead-off batter in the lineup.
Every team struck out
With the exceptions of St. Charles Catholic and Cabrini’s championship game appearances, the playoffs were short-lived for most of the local Catholic schools.
Mount Carmel appeared to be a top contender for the Class 5A softball title. The No. 4 seed entered the playoffs with a 20-3 record, but after winning their first-round game, the Cubs were silenced by No. 12 Pineville, 12-2, in a regional round game played on the team’s “home” field of JPRD.
Academy of Our Lady was rolling along with a 20-8 record and the No. 10 seed in Class 4A before losing to No. 26 Teurlings Catholic, 8-6, in the regional round.
St. Charles Catholic’s Lady Comets were a No. 8 seed and riding a 23-3 record when they fell to No. 9 Mangham, 3-2, in the regional round to end their hopes for a Class 2A title run.
District 8-4A runner-up St. Scholastica (16-9) was eliminated in the first round by Beau Chene, 12-2.
For the first time, the winner of the Catholic League baseball championship was not a Catholic school.
New member John Curtis won the district but didn’t have time to enjoy its success as Chalmette eliminated the Patriots, 8-4, in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Runner-up Jesuit (26-9) lasted the longest but couldn’t get past Catholic High in the quarterfinal round.
Archbishop Rummel (20-13) went out in the regional round to perpetual champion Barbe, 2-0, and Brother Martin (19-9) was eliminated by St. Amant, 2-1. That loss followed a resounding 10-0 victory over St. Paul’s in the first round.
Holy Cross (14-15), Archbishop Shaw (9-17) and St. Augustine (11-16-1) failed to qualify for post-season play.
And others fell by the wayside shortly after the playoffs got under way.
De La Salle (20-5) enjoyed one of its finest seasons in recent years, but couldn’t get past Pine Prairie, 2-1, in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.
And after winning the District 10-2A championship, Archbishop Hannan (17-7) was eliminated by Doyle, 14-4, also in the first round.
Softball Coach of the Year Shannon Austin and assistant coach Ira Austin display the Class 4A runner-up trophy.
Karli Perque led Cabrini to the Class 4A state championship game through domination as a pitcher.
2016 Elite Girls’ Softball Team
Pitcher Shelby Wickersham Mt. Carmel So.
Pitcher Samantha Mracich Abp. Chapelle Sr.
Pitcher Karli Perque Cabrini Sr.
Catcher Megan Authement Acad. of Our Lady Sr.
Catcher Morgan Nobile St. Charles Catholic Sr.
Infielder Destiny Wesley St. Charles Catholic Sr.
Infielder Sarah Helmstetter Dominican Jr.
Infielder Samantha Dares Mt. Carmel Sr.
Infielder Brittany Chetta Pope John Paul II Sr.
Outfielder Maddie Avery Ursuline Jr.
Outfielder Emily Belanger Abp. Chapelle Sr.
Outfielder Savannah Freeman St. Scholastica So.
Utility Jordyn Perkins Mt. Carmel So.
Utility Lindsey Osbon Abp. Hannan Jr.
Utility Kaylin Groce Abp. Chapelle Sr.
MVP Karli Perque Cabrini
Coach Shannon Austin Cabrini
Young head coach Wayne Stein pointed the way to a 29-9 record for St. Charles Catholic’s Class 2A runner-up.
Blair Frederick of Brother Martin proved to be the Most Valuable Player with a bat and on the mound.
2016 Elite Boys’ Baseball Team
Pitcher Mason Mayfield Jesuit Sr.
Pitcher Connor Cosse Abp. Rummel Sr.
Pitcher Zack Roussel St. Charles Catholic Sr.
Pitcher Blake LoCicero St. Paul’s Sr.
Catcher Hunter Romero St. Paul’s Sr.
Catcher Chase Fourcade Abp. Rummel Sr.
Infielder Justin Ory St. Charles Catholic Sr.
Infielder Brandon Briuglio Jesuit Sr.
Infielder Nick Ray Jesuit Jr.
Infielder Justice McCoy St. Augustine Jr.
Outfielder Luke LaCoste Abp. Rummel Jr.
Outfielder Dane Authement St. Charles Catholic Sr.
Outfielder Tré Turner Holy Cross Sr.
Utility Blair Frederick Brother Martin Sr.
Utility Matt Keller Abp. Shaw Sr.
Utility Quinn Heinold Abp. Hannan Sr.
MVP Blair Frederick Brother Martin Jr.
Coach Wayne Stein St. Charles Catholic