Travis Swaggerty (copy)

Travis Swaggerty, an outfielder from University of South Alabama, talks on the phone with a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates after being selected tenth during the first round of the Major League Baseball draft June 4, 2018, in Secaucus, N.J.

Years from now, even decades from now, a Livingston Parish father may sit his baseball-aspiring son on the bench of a dugout and tell the story of Travis Swaggerty.

It is an inspirational story, to be sure. And it is a story that hits close to home.

Only becoming an everyday starter for Denham Springs High School as a junior, Swaggerty was an under-recruited player for the Yellow Jackets who signed with the University of South Alabama, then quickly blossomed into the kind of player Major League Baseball coveted.

Last week, Swaggerty took the next step in his magical journey when the 5-foot-10 outfielder was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates with the 10th pick of MLB's amateur draft.

The assigned value of pick 10 in the draft is a signing bonus of $4.5 million.

Longtime Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll said Swaggerty is a "good example of somebody who has lots of natural talent and also works hard. He worked really hard in every part of his game, would work hard at trying to do what you were telling him."

In becoming a first-round draft pick, Swaggerty joined a list of former Yellow Jackets to be taken in the first round that includes Ben McDonald and Russ Johnson, both of whom played for LSU.

By the time Swaggerty finished his junior season at South Alabama, he had put together three stellar college seasons chock-full of individual accomplishments. He had even represented Team USA during international play last summer.

But few could have projected such an ascension by Swaggerty when he went undrafted out of Denham Springs as a two-way prospect who was still 17 when he received his diploma.

Carroll, though, knew Swaggerty would maximize his potential.

And he has little doubt that he will do everything he can to make sure the Pirates are repaid for the investment they made.

"Knowing him," Carroll said, "he's probably in the (batting) cages hitting right now."

In other words, the best part of Swaggerty's story  is yet to be told.

Kunert shines in regional

Former Live Oak standout Lenni Kunert hit a blistering .636 with two homers for Northwestern State in the Corvallis (Ore.) Regional earlier this month.

Playing left field, Kunert went 3-for-3 against host Oregon State in the regional opener, clubbing the first of his two homers and also hitting a double in the 9-3 loss. He had his other homer of the regional against LSU in a 9-5 elimination-game loss, part of a 3-for-4 effort at the plate.

Kunert, who had only one homer in the regular season, finished his sophomore year with a .288 average.

All-District baseball, softball

LSU signee Cade Doughty helped highlight the list of all-district baseball and softball players from Livingston Parish as the Denham Springs shortstop was given the Gold Glove award in District 4-5A as the league's top defensive player.

Doughty joined teammate Dawson Albin, a pitcher, as Yellow Jackets on the first team.

Walker was represented by pitcher Lane Thomas, outfielders Tristan Taylor and Graham Smith and utility player Chase Jeansonne. Live Oak had four players on the first team as infielder Lane Hutchinson, designated hitter Cade Freneaux and utility players Cody Crifasi and Rhett Rosevear were selected.

Hunter Dupuy of Maurepas was also among top Livingston Parish selections as he was named District 7-B's MVP.

Dupuy, an infielder, joined catcher Hunter Duplessis, designated hitter Michael Vannapah and infielder Nick Delatte as Maurepas players on the 7-B first team. Holden was represented by infielder Cole Forbes, outfielders Donald Wilkinson and Phillip Davidson and utility player Scott Robertson.

In 7-3A, Albany had three players make first team all-district: pitcher Donovan Giamalva, infielder Acey Martin and designated hitter Brock Bankston.

In 10-2A, Doyle was represented on the first team by pitcher Colton Newson, first baseman Tyson Stewart and second baseman Braden Keen, and Springfield by third baseman Matt Kreutzer, pitcher Keith McKigney and utility player Collin Hayden. Outfielder Gannon Allison and utility player Brice Fruge made the first team from French Settlement.

Holden star Olivia Lackie once again was a star of stars in the softball voting.

Lackie was named the MVP of 7-B as a first-team, all-district pitcher after leading the Lady Rockets to their second straight Class B state title. The pitching ace was joined on the all-district list by Holden teammates Emma Hutchinson (pitcher), Ashley Fogg (catcher), Olivia Barnes (infielder), Kacey Breithaupt (infielder) and Grace Duffy (outfielder).

Maurepas was also well-represented as pitcher McKenna Lessard, catcher Keegan Marchand, infielders Dru Bantaa and KK Vicknair, outfielder Sarah Crawford and utility player Emma Gautreau made the 7-B first team.

Meanwhile, Albany coach David Knight, who led Holden to its 2017 title, was named the Coach of the Year in 7-3A in his first season with the Hornets.

In addition, six of Knight's players were part of the 7-3A first team: catcher Brittney Turner, infielders Kaci Payne, Abby Spring and Madison Knight, outfielder Heather Degenhardt, and utility player Annalee Glamalva.

Six players from Live Oak were part of the 4-5A all-district first team: pitcher Lindsey Rizzo, catcher Brett Leiva, infielders Breanna Corken and Aubrey Rabalais, outfielder Emma Hunt, and utility player Katie Vandermark.

Infielders Laynie Jones and Kassy Guidry and outfielder Savannah Stafford from Walker and infielder Paige Luquette, outfielder Rayne Minor and utility player Natalie Parker from Denham Springs also made the first team.

In 10-2A, state champion Doyle was represented by pitcher Marley Olivier, catcher Alissa Ragas, infielders Caitlin Fruge and Elise Jones, outfielder Sydney Taylor, and utility players Kaitlyn Savant and Madison Diaville.

Infielder Payton Clouatre and utility player Jackie Crosby from French Settlement and outfielder Tabby Lobell and designated hitter Lauren Price from Springfield were also on the first team.

Scott Hotard covers sports for The Livingston-Tangipahoa Advocate. He can be contacted at or