LAFAYETTE — Lafayette High’s Emile Lege was in the process of finalizing his college decision earlier this week when a text from longtime friend and teammate Hudson Laborde popped onto his screen.
Laborde had committed to Northwestern State and was trying to see what direction Lege was leaning.
“I wanted to make sure I made the decision for me and not because anyone else influenced me,” Lege said. “He made the same decision before me, and we didn’t even talk about it.”
Within an hour of each other Northwestern State picked up commitments from two of Lafayette’s top players with Laborde a first baseman and Lege a pitcher-outfielder.
“Emile had a couple of other schools he was looking into,” Laborde said. “I told him I was going to Northwestern, and if he wanted to come, we could room together. With him committing also, that made me want to go to Northwestern. I’m glad we’re going to end up at the same place.”
The two Lafayette High standouts attended kindergarten together and played on some of the same youth league teams together before starting the past two seasons with the Mighty Lions.
“It was weird how it worked out,” Lege said of both winding up at Northwestern. “I thought it would be cool to go to school with him, and it ended up turning out that way. It’s going to be fun.”
The 6-foot, 220-pound Laborde, who started at designated hitter as a sophomore, was a second-team All-District 3-5A selection at first base in 2015.
This past season Laborde was elevated to first-team status, helping Lafayette to a 23-10 overall record, second- place finish in District 3-5A and a trip to the Class 5A state regionals.
Laborde batted .467 with a .566 on-base percentage and .867 slugging percentage. He drove in 35 runs, had 10 doubles, eight homers and scored 25 runs.
The day after Lafayette’s season ended in a Game 3 loss to archrival Acadiana, Laborde received a call from Northwestern assistant Bobby Barbier, expressing the Demons interest and trying to schedule an official visit which took place last Friday.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I loved the people there. The coaches were really nice and the campus was very pretty. It felt like a home away from home.”
Lege, a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder, earned first-team all-district honors at utility for his work on the mound, in the outfield and at second base. He batted .356 with a .433 on-base percentage and .637 slugging average. He totaled eight doubles, six triples and four homers to go along with 28 RBIs.
Lege, who had a 3-5 record and 3.34 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 44 innings, visited Northwestern on April 10, but wanted to weigh other options after visiting Southeastern and LSU-Eunice, along with receiving interest from Louisiana-Lafayette and Nicholls State.
“I had never been there (Northwestern) before, so I was just going to meet the coaches,” said Lege, who plans to pitch and hit in college. “It was far from home, but I got there and fell in love with the team, the coaches and facilities.”
Lege also warmed up to the idea of sharing a room with Laborde.
“We’ve discussed it,” he said. “I think we’re going to room together. We bicker like brothers, so we’ll see how it goes.”