Once of the luxuries of being a prospective college baseball player in Lafayette is the emergence of Louisiana-Lafayette’s program.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have evolved into a national-caliber brand highlighted by consecutive NCAA super regional appearances over the 2014-15 seasons and came up a game shy of a third straight appearance this season.
For Ascension Episcopal’s rising junior center fielder Jeffrey Elkins, it was a no-brainer when UL-Lafayette assistant coach Anthony Babineaux called Sunday to extend a scholarship offer and ask whether he wanted to become a team member.
“It took a second to let it sink, like this was really happening,” said Elkins, who committed on the spot. “I’m still kind of in shock, and it hasn’t hit me that I’ll really be playing college baseball in two years.”
Elkins said playing college baseball’s been a life-long objective. The fact he’ll get the opportunity to play for the Cajuns made the realization of that goal even more gratifying.
“I’ve always thought about being a Cajun. It’s been on my mind,” Elkins said. “It’s a pretty easy choice. I can play my whole senior season relaxed. I’ve already got somewhere to go to college. It’s very exciting.”
Elkins said he spoke once with Babineaux before taking part in a tournament over the weekend in Monroe with the longtime Cajuns assistant on hand. He wound up playing in a total of six games for two of Marucci Elite’s U16 travel teams.
Elkins said his positive approach and effort may have surpassed his actual production.
“If I had a bad at-bat, I didn’t take it to the field,” he said. “I still showed hustle on the field, a competitive attitude to help my team. I tried to get it done any way I could, and hopefully that was something that stood out to the coaches.”
In his first season after transferring from St. Thomas More, Elkins helped Ascension Episcopal to the Class 1A regional playoff round.
He earned first team Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association’s all-state honors, batting .411 with 13 doubles, three doubles, two homers, 25 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.
“Every year it just keeps getting better and better,” Elkins said of UL-Lafayette’s program. “(Head) coach (Tony Robichaux) Robe and coach Bab (Anthony Babineaux) have built such a great program. That’s what helped me make my decision so quickly.”