Griffins’ Adam Sparks commits to Vanderbilt

Dutchtown High School defensive back Adam Sparks ended all the speculation as he recently made a commitment to play for the Vanderbilt Commodores. Sparks made the trip to Tennessee for a camp and took part in a tour and looked things over.

Besides being a private university with high academic standards and a great place to attend college, it’s going to be a great fit for Sparks and his defensive prowess. When Vanderbilt hosts South Carolina in the season opener Sept. 1, the Commodores will feature an experienced defense that ranked among the nation’s most improved last year.

Sparks had 12 offers, including from Tulane, SMU, Colorado State, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Texas-San Antonio and Southern Illinois.

Spartans hire Katie Ocmand

Katie Ocmand, an alumna from Lutcher High and former LSU-Eunice softball star, has been selected as the new head softball coach at East Ascension High. At 25, Ocmand has accomplished much as a player and would like to continue her career as a coach.

Her play behind the plate as a catcher helped lead Lutcher to a Class 3A state title in 2009. Ocmand then went on to play for LSU-Eunice, where her play helped the Tigers win a junior college national title.

Ocmand was an assistant coach at Lutcher in 2015 and has coached numerous recreation and summer softball teams through the years. Spartans Athletic Director Darnell Lee said Ocmand was one of 10 applicants for the job. She replaces Amy Pitre, who moved to become head coach for the St. Amant Gators.

Enlow makes first cut

St. Amant High School pitcher Blayne Enlow is living the dream. The senior right-hander used his fastball to get ahead in the count, then got them to chase curve balls to pitch six innings of near perfection to make the first cut for the USA Baseball 18-and-under team during the Tournament of Stars last week in Cary, North Carolina.

Part of Enlow’s dream that’s already a reality is being an LSU commitment. Now, he gets to play in a September competition in which the 40 players that remain in the trials pool will be divided into two 20-man teams. Another good performance will allow Enlow to make the final cut, and he’ll get to compete for the 18-and-under team in Mexico, also in September.

Enlow allowed only one hit and struck out five with no walks in his first appearance on the mound on June 22. He duplicated that performance June 25 and finished with 10 strikeouts and no walks over six innings, allowing just two hits.

All-Stars third at state tourney

The Donaldsonville 8-and-under All-Stars worked really hard to finish third at the state tournament in St. Francisville this past weekend. The team came away with victories over Golden Meadow, Ascension, defending state champ Kenner and Madisonville.

The two losses came at the hands of Walker, who eventually won the 2016 state championship, and Pierre Part, who was the runner-up team. The team would like to thank the sponsors, parents and families for their support as Donaldsonville finished with an overall record of 10-5 in all-star play.

Nothing quite like it

As I think about our nation celebrating its independence as a new country, we are truly blessed. I’m fortunate enough to live on the water, which, for an avid outdoorsman, is a dream come true. My wife, Deborah, and I took off on our jet skis on a short trip to see some beautiful scenery and wildlife that just adds to nature’s canvas.

We traveled down the Diversion Canal and took a right into Petite Amite to get off the beaten path. We weren’t let down by nature because soon after our entry into what seems might be “back in time” two alligators were spotted. The ride in that area is beautiful if you just soak in the sights. We passed several boats that had fishermen aboard who were taking in some relaxation on their Independence Day morning, adults and kids alike.

About five miles later, we took a turn into Blind River. The scenery doesn’t change a lot; it just gets bigger. The cypress and tupelo trees in the swamp are at their greenest of the year and the moss draped from their branches swaying in the wind just adds to the beauty.

The bird section of the wildlife cooperated, as well. The water was a little low, so the great egrets along with snowy egrets were at the bank’s edge catching their breakfast of minnows as fast as they could. Several great blue herons graced us with their appearance with wing spreads of nearly 7 feet in length.

The little blue herons were out as well, chasing minnows along with green herons. We also saw two split tail kites, which are becoming more and more plentiful in our area. When we neared the end of our adventure, we came across our fifth alligator not far from home.

We only spent about two hours out on the water and saw a great amount of wildlife, some of the most beautiful bald cypress trees along with white and purple water lilies. Blind River was designated a Natural and Scenic Waterway in the early 2000s and it’s pretty understandable why.

Next time you get a chance to be on our local waterways, look at it a little different. You might be surprised. There’s nothing quite like it.

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