Zachary High School head coach Jesse Cassard’s baseball team is having a banner year and the season has not yet begun.
Bronco first baseman Gabe Hannum and shortstop Bo Myers have signed to play junior college baseball at LSU-Eunice, joining three Zachary seniors who signed scholarships in November.
Micah McHugh signed with Ole Miss, Cory Musselman with Northwestern State University and Evan Pace signed to play at Southeastern Louisiana University.
“I don’t know of any other school that’s signing five seniors early like us,” Cassard said at a Jan. 22 signing reception for the two seniors.
Families, friends and Bronco teammates attended.
The scholarships offered by LSU-E to Hannum and Myers are academic as well as athletic, Cassard said.
“This is an A-number one junior college for Division II athletes,” Cassard said. “Playing for coach (Jeff) Willis and his crew makes you a man, makes you accountable.”
Cassard cautioned his players and their parents that the season will be a tough one despite all the recent signings.
“We’re going to work on being results driven,” Cassard said. “Even if you have the talent, sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way you want. It can actually be tougher. We have the talent, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.”
Cassard congratulated Hannum and Myers on their accomplishments and thanked the parents for the sacrifices made in getting their sons to this point.
“When one of our players leaves this program here at Zachary, I want them to go on to a better one. They’ll get that playing for coach Willis at LSU-E,” Cassard said.
In 12 years, Willis has led LSU-E to eight regional championships, seven district championships and seven World Series appearances, along with four national championships, a national runner-up finish (2013) and two third-place finishes.
In 2014, the Bengals finished with a 42-13 overall record, earning a trip to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament, and had 14 players move on to play with four-year colleges, according to the school’s website.
Hannum, who started playing T-ball at age 5, began playing baseball with Myers when the two were in middle school together. Hannum is the son of Brandy and Trevor Hannum. Myers is the son of Mello and Danny Myers.
“I thank my coaches, my parents and grandparents, and the other parents of my teammates for always being there for me, but mainly my teammates who are like my brothers,” said an emotional Hannum, 18.
“What I’m most proud of is the young man Gabe’s become. He’s always been trustworthy and reliable. He played football his sophomore year and, of course, baseball every year but has always kept his gpa up while playing sports,” Brandy Hannum said. “Gabe has a big heart and cares tremendously about his family and friends but especially his teammates.”
Danny Myers said his son spent a day on the Eunice campus in September, meeting with coaches and staff and touring the facility, before they offered him a scholarship.
Myers said LSU-Shreveport also inquired about his son, but LSU-E made him an offer.
“I’m thrilled he’s going to play for a junior college as good as LSU-E. They have the best coaching staff, and I think this is the best fit for him at this point in his life,” Danny Myers said.
The 17-year-old Myers thanked his teammates, whom he also referred to as brothers, as well as his family, friends and coaches. “Thanks for sticking with me,” Myers said.
In addition to starting at first base, Hannum, a four-year letterman, also plays third base. In 2014, his batting average was .378 with one home run, 12 doubles and 34 RBIs, according to Cassard.
Myers, who plays infield in addition to his regular position at shortstop, finished the 2014 season with a batting average of .343 and earned nine doubles with 28 RBIs.
The Broncos begin their 2015 season with a scrimmage against Byrd at LSU-Alexandria. A jamboree is set for Feb. 21 in Zachary as well as a tournament Feb. 26-28. The first regularly scheduled home game begins at 6 p.m. March 3, when the Broncos host Catholic High at Zachary Youth Park.