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Baseball: Two Cajuns take state honors

LSWA tabs Van De Keere, Moody players of the year.

Dan McDonald

Tulane’s tumultuous baseball season ended on a high note, with the Green Wave the only Louisiana team selected for the NCAA Tournament.
The University of Louisiana’s baseball season ended in disappointing fashion, with the Ragin’ Cajuns not picked for the NCAA field despite a runner-up finish in the Sun Belt Conference.

The teams may have finished different emotionally, but each had enough going for them to sweep top honors on the All-Louisiana Collegiate Baseball Team selected by the La. Sports Writers Association.

Cajun sophomore lefthander Hunter Moody was named the state’s Pitcher of the Year, and junior infielder Devery Van De Keere was picked as Newcomer of the Year in voting by a panel of LSWA members.
Tulane had the state’s Hitter of the Year in first baseman Mark Hamilton, who was also the only unanimous selection on the first team; the Freshman of the Year in first-team outfielder Warren McFadden; and the Coach of the Year in Rick Jones.

Since under LSWA rules the team and top honors are restricted to four-year schools, the panel named LSU-Eunice coach Jeff Willis an honorary Coach of the Year in recognition of the Bengals’ Division II junior college national championship.

Cajun catcher Jonathan Lucroy joined Moody as a first-team selection, while Van De Keere was joined on the second team by pitchers Jason Fernandez and Buddy Glass – putting all three UL starting pitchers were picked on either the first or second team.

Two other Cajuns, first baseman Jefferies Tatford and shortstop Jameson Parker, were honorable mention all-state selections.

Moody had the state’s most wins with his 12-2 record (no one else was over nine) and compiled a 2.63 ERA while striking out 86 batters in 113 innings. The Clinton product went a perfect 7-0 in Sun Belt play in being named Co-Pitcher of the Year in the league, and his 12 wins also ranked third nationally in the regular season.

Van De Keere, from Barrhead, Alberta, Canada, didn’t move into the regular lineup for UL until one-third of the season had passed, and went on to earn All-Sun Belt first-team honors. He led UL with a .368 average with 41 RBI, nine homers and a .582 slugging mark. He had 22 multiple-hit games and started for UL in four different positions during the year.

Lucroy led UL in homers (12) and RBI (68) and had a team-high .610 slugging mark along with a .333 batting average after hitting .379 as a freshman in 2005. He also was the Cajuns’ everyday catcher for the first time this season.

Fernandez went 9-2 with a 2.86 ERA while Glass was 8-3 with a 2.17 mark.

Jones’ Tulane team spent the fall semester in Lubbock, Texas, at Texas Tech after the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, and the Wave played its games this season at Zephyr Field. TU lost all three weekend pitchers and six position starters from last year’s squad, but still went 41-19 and reached the championship round of the NCAA regional.

Hamilton was also named Conference USA Player of the Year after hitting .338 with 18 homers, 64 RBI, 12 doubles and a .639 slugging mark. He hit .436 in games against state schools. McFadden also doubled up as C-USA Freshman of the Year after leading Tulane in hitting at .381 with 22 doubles and 48 RBI.

Originally published June 18, 2006