Paul Guerriero knows many of the players set to play for his East squad in this weekend’s LHSCA All-Star baseball games. The Neville High coach says there are two Baton Rouge area players he doesn’t know who have his curiosity piqued.
“There are two pitchers I’m anxious to see — Manny Miles and Travis Swaggerty,” Guerriero said. “I’ve heard great things about both of them from a lot of people. But I’ve never really had a chance to see them or play them.
“That’s one of the great things about these games. You get to coach and see kids you haven’t had the chance to play against or see.”
The LHSCA All-Star weekend kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday, when players for the East and West squads report to Netterville Field at North Park in Denham Springs. There will be walk-through practices and meetings before the teams play their first game at 7 p.m. Friday at Netterville Field.
A second game set for 12:15 p.m. Saturday completes the weekend for the two 25-player squads.
Barbe High’s Glenn Cecchini is the head coach for the West squad that is led by Sulphur’s Kale Breaux, a pitcher who was named Louisiana’s Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year on Thursday.
The East squad has a mix of players from across the state, including 13 players from the Baton Rouge area. U-High Miles is listed as a pitcher for the squad, while Swaggerty of Denham Springs is an outfielder but could also pitch.
LHSCA All-Star coaches met Thursday night to begin planning lineups and strategies. Players rotate in and out of the games, typically every three innings and are required to play at least five innings.
“I think the West squad is loaded,” Guerriero said. “You have the Breaux kid from Sulphur and several others who are talented. I think we’re very good, too.
“Probably the toughest part is figuring out the pitching. Most of our pitchers are used to being starters. All pitchers aren’t comfortable coming on in relief, and we’ll have to see who can fill that role.”
As much as he looks forward to seeing top college prospects like Breaux, a Mississippi State signee, Guerriero said the games also are about two other kinds of players — those seeking a college offer and those who are not planning to play in college. One of the players seeking a college offer is Neville second baseman Willie Ward.
“You want it to be the best experience possible for everybody,” Guerriero said. “There will be college scouts at the practices and the games.
“If he (Ward) or someone else can get an offer to play in college based on what they do this weekend, that would be awesome. You want everybody to be successful.”