For the first time in the history of American Legion baseball in Eunice, there will be two teams for the community to follow this summer.
The Eunice Oilers will be based from Eunice High, while the Eunice Blue Jays will participate for the first time with athletes from the St. Edmund program.
According to Blue Jay head coach Tre Brown, the idea first came up last season in his first year at St. Edmund, but it couldn’t get worked out until this summer season.
“We have so many good ball players in Eunice it doesn’t make any sense to only have nine spots on the field and have good players not get the opportunity to play as often.
“It is all about getting more kids a chance to play,” Brown said of the formation of a second Legion team in the city.
“It will open the doors for more experience for both teams.”
So what will it be like when the two teams face each other for the first time?
The two Eunice teams will face each other on June 17 at Eunice High and on July 8 at North Park.
“I hated it when they told me there would be a split,” Oilers head coach Danny Solieau said. “It will be fun to face each other with no hard feelings. It will be a big gate draw for either team as the community comes together to watch the two teams play.”
“I think it will be a real exciting game when the two teams play,” Brown said. “They all know each other and it should be fun.
“I am hoping the two schools’ teams can face each other in the future.”
The Oilers, defending District 23 champions will have an arsenal of hurlers with 10 different players that will see time on the mound.
“You have to have them,” the coach said of his pitchers. “At some time or another they may all pitch.”
Louisiana College player Casey Charlie will pitch and see action at shortstop, and according to Soileau, could be the closer for the Oilers.
Jacque Fruge will pitch and play third base along with Austin Young (pitcher/outfielder), Mitchell Fusilier (shortstop/pitcher), Chris McCoy (pitcher/outfielder), Brett Baldwin (pitcher/first base), Stuart Turner (catcher/pitcher), Jacob Fontenot (second base/pitcher), Tyler Fontenot (pitcher/outfielder) and Beau Leger (first base/pitcher).
First baseman Ethan Hatler and outfielders Ethan Moser and Kendall Sam complete the Oilers roster.
“We will be alright,” Soileau said of his team. “Our young guys that will start for us played this whole past season at Eunice High. We had several players who are heading to their junior year start for us as sophomores.
“You can coach anything but experience,” Soileau said. “They will have that this summer.
“It is all about getting better,” the coach said of how senior and junior American Legion baseball can help the Bobcat program.
“It will help our younger players get experience against good competition.”
The American Legion season begins June 3 when the Oilers host the Crowley Millers and the Blue Jays travel to take on the Opelousas Seminoles.
For the Blue Jays, the Eunice team will be a mirror image of the varsity team that captured the District 6-1A title.
Just like the Oilers the Blue Jays will be loaded with pitchers, a luxury that Brown likes in this team.
“We will have two pitchers for every game,” Brown said of his bullpen.
“I have eight pitchers with a starter and reliever for each game if we play four games in a week.
games in a week.
“I have so many pitchers, but that is a good thing to have.”
The roster is made of: Quinn Arnaud (second base/pitcher), Dillion Brown (first base/pitcher), Wesley Chachere (utility/pitcher),
Taylor Eval (catcher/pitcher), Jarod Fontenot (second base), Eric Guillory (second base/pitcher), Trevor Hargroder (outfielder/pitcher), Ryan Johnson (first baseman/pitcher), Mac Manuel (pitcher/outfielder), Kevin McFarlain (infielder/pitcher), Tyler McGee (utility/pitcher), Nick Richard (pitcher), Wesley Richard (infielder/catcher/pitcher), Tyler Rodrigez (infielder/pitcher), Robert Sanders (outfielder/pitcher), Edward Turk (outfielder/pitcher), Taylor Wallett (outfielder/pitcher) and Hunter Arnaud (catcher/second base).
The Oiler Junior American Legion team begins play on Wednesday against Jiffy Lube, while the Blue Jays will not have a Junior team this summer.
Pitchers for the Oilers junior team will include Jacob Fontenot and Tyler Fontenot along with Alex Comeaux (pitcher/third base), Trent Vidrine (catcher/pitcher), Zac Person (pitcher/outfielder), Brodie Oliver (shortstop/pitcher), Jonathan Thekey (pitcher/third base) and Matthew Bari (third base/pitcher).
Other players include Alex Lee (first base), Conner Corting (second base), Lane David (second base),
Junior outfielders include Landon Marcantel, Tim Richard, Ryan Ashford, Lathan Prudhomme, Jonathan Janise Brandon Bagnet and Jacob Chataigner.