LSU wasn’t the only area baseball team to get a taste of the big leagues early in the season.
Teurlings Catholic traveled to Houston on opening weekend of the high school baseball season to take on Sam Houston at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.
“It was a dream come true for all of us,” coach Mike Thibodeaux said. “It was just a blessing. That is a lifetime of memories right there in one day.”
“The kids know they’ll have something to tell their children and grandchildren about one day,” Thibodeaux continued. “To say, ‘Hey look, I played on a big league field when I was in high school.’ ”
Thibodeaux said getting the Rebels ready for a stiff challenge against Sam Houston proved to be difficult when everyone was distracted.
“I felt like a little kid. I think I was more excited than the boys were,” Thibodeaux said. “I had goose bumps stepping on that field and standing in the coaches’ box there. It was difficult to stay focused before the game and get the guys ready. I wanted to run around and take pictures.”
Thibodeaux said in the moment his team wasn’t fully able to appreciate the experience because of their preparation for the game, in which Sam Houston picked up a 9-4 win.
“It was such an awesome experience, and we were so busy at the time getting ready for our games that now when we look back on it we can say, ‘Wow. We played at Minute Maid,’ ” Thibodeaux said.
Between the travel, hotel and the rest of the itinary; the Rebels experience what MLB players have grown accustomed to but is foreign for high school players.
“It wasn’t an ordinary day. It wasn’t an ordinary high school experience, but they handled it so well,” Thibodeaux said. “Very classy, and I guess the big league experience really brought out the best in them.”
Thibodeaux said it dawned on him when he watched LSU play in the same park a week later and heard players from one of the top-ranked college programs in the country talk about their experience.
“I was listening to (LSU shortstop Alex) Bregman say how special it was for him and some of those pitchers and thinking to myself, ‘Those guys showed up and felt that way, and they are big-time college players. My guys, most of them won’t even get the chance to play college ball, much less professional ball,’ ” he said. “We were just tickled to death.”