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Baseball: UL’s Robichaux, Adams signs deals with Angels

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 11, 2014

For Austin Robichaux, a decision made means leaving family behind. For Caleb Adams, making the same call means saying goodbye to his home away from home for the past two years.

The two Ragin’ Cajun juniors signed pro contracts with the same organization Tuesday, doing so just a few days after the Los Angeles Angels selected them in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Adams, UL’s starting left fielder and top hitter, was taken in the 10th round Friday and right-handed pitcher Robichaux, the Cajuns’ usual Friday-night starter, went in the 18th round Saturday.

The two signed one day after UL was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with a Game 3 Super Regional loss to Ole Miss, leaving the Cajuns one win shy of its first College World Series trip since 2000.

Getting so close yet being so far only complicated the decision for Robichaux, a product of Notre Dame High in Crowley and longtime Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux’s son.

"I was there when they went to Omaha. I saw the look on the players’ faces, I saw the look on my dad’s face," he said. "And I did want to get there myself – but also get him back there.

"Getting that close, just one game away, and being denied, having another team dogpile on your field – it just puts a terrible taste in your mouth. Just to be that close and have it taken away from you, it’s an awful feeling. But I wanted to start my pro career, and move on."

Ditto for Adams, a product of Texas High in Texarkana, Texas.

"I can’t even describe how much the UL baseball program and fans have done for me the past two years," Adams posted on Twitter and Instagram. "I will definitely miss all the great memories made at The Tigue."

Tweeted Robichaux: "Wish it wasn’t over but even good things come to an end."

For Robichaux, the memories meant being alongside his father the past three years.

"It’s been a privilege to have seven years of going to practice every day and being able to see your child – especially since I missed almost every one of their high school games," said Tony Robichaux, who also coached older son Justin at UL. "God’s blessed me in being able to get that time back. A lot of times you get that second chance, and I was real fortunate to have that."

Tony Robichaux seemed to understand why he won’t have one more year with his youngest son.

"He feels his development over the last three years has enabled him to be ready to head out and try to take on the next chapter in his career of trying to make it to the big leagues," the Cajun coach said.

"It’s hard not to experience a senior year with him," added Austin Robichaux, who bypassed turning pro straight out of high school despite being drafted then in the 50th round the Cincinnati Reds. "He taught me so much more than I can even imagine experiencing. And it made the decision hard. But … I want to accomplish that (goal of getting to the majors). Today just makes it one step closer."

Three other Cajun juniors drafted last week and must soon decide, if they haven’t already, whether they’ll go pro or return to UL for one more year: centerfielder Seth Harrison (San Francisco Giants, seventh round); second baseman Jace Conrad (Tampa Bay Rays, 13th) and pitcher Carson Baranik (Los Angeles Dodgers, 33rd).