Derek Boutin couldn’t believe that he was going to be an all-star.
The Acadiana High pitcher and Louisiana-Lafayette signee had been nominated and ultimately selected as a member of the West team for this weekend’s Louisiana High School Coaches Association all-star baseball games. Friday’s first game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Denham Springs’ North Park recreation complex, with the second game at 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
“It made me speechless,” Boutin said. “I wasn’t expecting to receive an invite to the game. It sent chills down my spine. It is a truly honor.”
Boutin isn’t the only area star set to play in this weekend’s pair of games. The West squad features five other baseball stars from across Acadiana including: Lafayette’s Antoine Duplantis, Erath’s Jesse Jordan, North Vermilion’s Donald Comeaux, Northside Christian’s Bradley Ancelet and St. Thomas More’s Brennan Breaux.
Boutin is looking forward to sharing the same dugout with some of those guys.
“I finally get to play with them instead of against them,” Boutin said.
For fellow District 3-5A member Duplantis, the all-star games give him a final chance to test himself against the state’s best high school players, before heading off to play at LSU.
“It is going to make me focus on being a better player,” Duplantis said. “I will get to test out how good I really am.”
A challenge for most of the players, including Duplantis, is the significant time off in between the all-star contests and each player’s final game of the season. To counter that layoff, Duplantis has been taking batting practice every day but even that isn’t enough.
“It’s going to be hard,” Duplantis said. “You can’t simulate live pitching with batting practice. I am going to see some of the best pitching in the state, but I think I will be fine.”
Boutin acknowledges that he too will need to shake off the rust but promises that he won’t get down on himself if that rust causes him to not pitch to his potential.
“I am just going to have the same approach as any other game,” Boutin said. “In the back of mind I know that is the best lineup I will face all year, but I am not going to be disappointed if I give up a home run or a few runs. I am not going to beat myself up.”