Three Zachary seniors have accepted scholarships to play college baseball.
Micah McHugh has signed to play with Ole Miss, Cory Musselman inked a deal with Northwestern State University and Evan Pace signed with Southeastern Louisiana University.
The Bronco athletes signed together at a Nov. 17 ceremony attended by family, friends and teammates.
“What these three have accomplished is really something,” Cassard said. “Each has earned full academic and athletic scholarships. What that means, most likely, is that they’ll get paid to go to college.”
According to Cassard, also Zachary’s athletics director, what the academic scholarship doesn’t pay for, the athletic scholarship kicks in.
“What’s left over, they get to keep,” he said. “These guys have worked really hard, they are the total package.”
“These three have played ball together since they were young. Most of my players have grown up together,” said head baseball coach Jesse Cassard.
The trio are the latest in a string of Zachary student-athletes who have signed with a major college or university in the past three years. Under Cassard, 28 student-athletes, including McHugh, Musselman and Pace, have signed deals.
McHugh began playing baseball for Cassard as a freshman, hitting over .300 his first year. He was invited to the Team USA tryouts at Ole Miss. He committed to play with the Rebels as a sophomore.
McHugh, 17, will be a dual position player at Ole Miss.
“I really liked their facilities and the fact that they’re a top baseball program,” McHugh says.
In 2014, the 6’2” pitcher and infielder posted a 4-2 record and hit .412 while committing six errors, Cassard said.
He earned first team All-District honors in 2013 and 2014 and was named to the All Metro team.
He is the son of Staci and Jeff McHugh.
Musselman, 18, posted a 12-5 record the past two seasons with a 2.32 ERA in 2013. As a junior, he pitched to a 1.60 ERA. The left-handed pitcher earned first team All District honors in 2014 and was named to the All Metro team.
“I wouldn’t be here without my coaches and parents,” Musselman said, referring to his mother and father, Kelli and Darren Musselman.
The Zachary pitcher says he was looked at by McNeese and other programs but knew right away he wanted to be a Demon in Natchitoches.
“I just knew it was the right fit for me — not too big, not too small — it just felt right,” Musselman said at the signing ceremony.
Pace, 18, ranks as one of the top catchers in Louisiana for 2015, according to Cassard.
Last season, he hit .323 while catching every game. As a sophomore, Pace earned first team All-District honors and was named Gold Glove of District 4-5A.
“I’ve always considered Southeastern,” Pace says. “I visited LSU-Eunice and other schools, but I really liked Southeastern.”
Pace’s older brother, Mason, throws the javelin at Louisiana Tech, and their dad, Tommy, was a former catcher for LSU. The Zachary catcher is the youngest of four sons to parents D’Nean and Tommy Pace.
“Evan’s pawpaw was his biggest fan,” D’Nean Pace said Monday.
“I play for my him,” Evan Pace said about his late grandfather.
The Zachary Broncos were 4A state champions from 2007 to 2009, 5A semifinalists in 2011 and 5A finalists in 2013.
“I’d like these guys to see a state championship before they leave high school,” Cassard said. The 2015 ZHS baseball season begins Feb. 7 with a scrimmage against Byrd.