CECILIA — Landon Roberts has no problem being vocal.
The Cecilia High senior has been accustomed to expressing himself to his teammates as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback the past few seasons. So when the time came for someone to step into the void left by the graduation of Randy Guidry at shortstop, a position often anchored by the baseball team’s most vocal leader, Roberts, who had manned second base for three years, had absolutely no reservations.
“Heading into last summer, we thought about keeping Landon at second base,” Cecilia’s longtime baseball coach Jamie Calais said. “We thought maybe we had another shortstop that could move there. Landon came up to me and told me ‘I want to be the shortstop next year.’ ”
“It is more responsibility but also a lot more action,” said Roberts, who picked up several tips from his best friend and ex-teammate Guidry. “Learning the cuts you need to make while in the defensive position at shortstop is really the hardest part, but I adapted pretty quickly. I am in love with playing the position. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Roberts adapted well enough as he helped guide the Bulldogs to the postseason for the third time in his four years with the program. No. 21 Cecilia plays at No. 12 South Terrebonne at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Now the Bulldogs’ leader is hoping to end an up-and-down senior season on a high note. After starting off winning six of their first eight, Cecilia lost five straight and ended the season 13-11 overall.
“We had high expectations this year,” Roberts said. “We thought we would have done better than what we did. We started off hot and then we hit a wall. We had some games that got canceled, and we started losing some games. But I think we are peaking right now. The expectations are still high.”
Roberts has seemingly dealt with high expectations from the first day he stepped foot on the baseball field. As a freshman, Calais put responsibility on Roberts’ shoulders as the Bulldogs’ starting second baseman and also as the team’s leadoff hitter, something he has done for four years now.
“My freshman year, coach told me that I was leading off, and to be honest, I didn’t realize that I would be the one setting the tone for the lineup,” Roberts said. “I just went up there and read the pitches and drew a lot of walks.
“A lot guys have thrown around me the last couple of years,” Roberts said. “For me, leading off is no pressure. Too much pressure breaks pipes, so I don’t try to think about the pressure. As a leadoff hitter, you know that they are going to throw some junk at you and try to get you to swing at pitches. As a leadoff hitter, you always have to remember to have a clear mind and look for your pitch.”
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound star, who works on his hitting in his downtime with former Teurlings Catholic and Florida State star Brooks Badeaux, has hit plenty of those pitches in his career. After batting in the .200 range his first two years, Roberts took a leap his junior season as he posted a .362 average. He was even better this season as he batted .415 overall, including hitting .445 in District 5-4A play.
Roberts is also a danger on the base paths as he has 75 stolen bases.
Calais knew there was something special about Roberts from the first week of practice four years ago.
“Right off the bat, I saw his leadership quality,” Calais said. “You could see it in just in his work ethic. He worked before and after practice. You could tell that he is was going to be a special player because of the work he was going to put in. He is like having another coach on the field.”
After not receiving much interest from college programs, this season Roberts is starting to garner the interest of several. As of now, Roberts has scholarship offers on the table from Baton Rouge Community College, Southern and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Roberts just wants to be known as a player who worked hard.
“I want me to remember for the hard work I put in that’s all,” Roberts said. “That’s what I hope everyone remembers me for. Working hard. That’s what I take pride in every day.”