Although rain and bad weather put a hamper on last weeks’ softball games, the St. Amant Lady Gators went on to finish the regular season undefeated at 25-0 and 10-0 in district play. The Gators are seeded first in 5A and will have faced Chalmette when this goes to press.

The East Ascension Lady Spartans are seeded at sixth with a 16-8, 6-3 record and the Dutchtown Lady Griffins are seeded eighth with an 18-10, 5-6 record. In 2A, the Lady Bulldogs of Ascension Catholic are ranked fifth with an 18-3 record.

Hess receives coaching honors

In Division I wrestling, St. Amant Gators coach Brian Hess was awarded coach of the year honors. Recognized by his peers for having the most improved team of the year was not the only reason that earned Hess this award. The Gator wrestlers were the runner-up team in the Baton Rouge City Championships and finished the season 21-8 in dual meets. They also garnered a very respectable 11th place finish at the Division I state tournament.

First team honors went to East Ascension junior Landon Wheat (120 pounds), who sported a 49-16 record and won a City title for the Spartans in Division I and senior teammate Jacob Bernard, who finished the season with a 48-5 record and earned a first team spot in the 126-pound class. Bernard also won a City title and placed fourth at the Division I state tourney.

Second team honors went to St. Amant senior Joshua Averette, who took honors in the 138-pound class finishing with a 50-9 record. Gator teammate Clint Brownell, a junior, earned his spot in the 145-pound class with a 46-8 record. Dutchtown senior, Brandon Cowell placed in the 152-pound class with a 52-4 record and senior Austin Guedry of East Ascension captured honors in the 195-pound class with a 24-14 record.

Gators and Spartans split two

The wet and nasty weather we had last week had the East Ascension Spartans (16-14, 7-2) and the St. Amant Gators (17-12, 6-3) playing on back-to-back days to finish the first game. Fridays’ game was a continued contest from a rainout on Thursday that seemingly had the Spartans in control of the game through the fourth inning by the score of 8-3. That’s when the Gators’ Justin Duhon hit a grand slam homer in left field to close the gap to one run.

St. Amant tied it up in the bottom of the sixth, and then both teams scored a single run in the seventh to knot things up at 9. Three wild pitches by Gator pitching scored Hayden Adams to seal the deal for the Spartans at 10-9.

Sundays’ game had the same feel for a while as the Gators and Spartans fought back and forth through five innings that knotted the score at 6-6. The top of the sixth inning turned out to be the killer for the Spartans as the Gators sent 14 batters to the plate to score eight runs and down their rival by the score of 14-6.

Shortstop Brock Bowen had a highlight game for the Gators as he went 3-5 at the plate, knocking in four runs. Sophomore pitcher Cole Holley came on in relief for the Spartans after Hayden Adams was pulled in the fourth inning giving up five runs and four hits. Holley walked seven Gator batters and suffered the loss. Tyler Dixon came on in relief and earned the win for St. Amant.

New controversy on horizon

NOAA Fisheries is accepting comments on an application for an exempted fishing permit from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. The application proposes to allow Mississippi-licensed for-hire vessels to harvest and possess red drum (redfish) from federal waters during the course of regular for-hire fishing trips. This two-year study would collect biological information on offshore red drum to aid biologists in assessing the status of the population in a future stock assessment.

If approved, as many as 70 Mississippi-licensed for-hire vessels would be permitted possession of one red drum per angler per trip from federal waters. Mississippi will enforce its 18-inch total length minimum size limit, but will not have a maximum size limit for fish caught under this program. A maximum of 30,000 pounds of red drum would be harvested over the two-year period.

On the surface this proposal seems harmless as in my opinion there is a catchable amount of these redfish in federal waters to allow anglers to possess one fish per day. It seems somewhat logical to allow only guide trips to do this as an accurate way to measure the harvest.

In the past when the NOAA and the Gulf Fisheries Management Council get involved in managing fisheries, their record is very dismal to say the least. Past behavior is a very good predictor of future behavior so maybe anglers should be on the lookout to make sure this stays on the correct path.

We’ve fought these types of battles in the past but time is the enemy of past battles. As time passes, people’s memories fade sometime and when the passing of time is long enough the memory of the battle fought and won or lost is gone with the ones that went through it.

Sometimes it only takes another controversy to take attention away from an event that just happened. Folks that didn’t go through the Great Depression have no concept about how things were then and how it affected the generation that experienced it. We have great abundance now and the concept is foreign to those who don’t do without.

So it was with the redfish battle between commercial interests and sport fishermen three decades ago.

Folks from the generation after us have no clue what went on during that time and just might say, “So what harm can this do?” As our generation dies off, the first hand memories fade. The old saying, “If we don’t learn from history, we will be destined to repeat it,” is very applicable here. For the most part I think the effort to keep the past battles in front of our memories in the fishing and hunting arena is being done well. We must be ever vigilant to keep it up.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension@theadvocate.com.