Based on the precedent of the state’s highest high school baseball honor, there were a lot of reasons why Teurlings Catholic junior Nick Webre may not have been considered a conventional candidate.
In the previous 19 years of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Baseball Award, the state’s sportswriters had only selected two juniors and rarely an outfielder.
By his own admission Webre enjoyed a modest sophomore season, not the type of year that would set him up to garner top billing a year later.
However, that’s exactly what Webre managed to accomplish, becoming the 20th recipient of the Mr. Baseball honor.
“It’s a huge honor for me,” said Webre, an LSU commitment. “I want to carry this with humbleness. When you look at the guys who won it in the past, it adds to the legacy of the award.”
Webre, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound right fielder, joins St. Thomas More catcher Chase Vallot (2014) as players from Lafayette to win the award. He’s only the third junior to claim the honor and first in seven years since Zachary’s Zack Von Rosenburg.
“That’s rare air; he’s in good company with some great ones,” Teurlings baseball coach Mike Thibodeaux said. “He had a great year from beginning to end.”
Webre, the Class 4A Most Outstanding Player, literally knocked down any previous stereotypes that accompanied the Mr. Baseball award with solid on-field credentials as one of the driving forces in Teurlings’ Class 4A state championship.
The Rebels concluded the season with a 35-4 record and ranked nationally in six polls after a 3-2 victory over West Ouachita.
“I owe all of my success to my teammates and the coaches I play with every day,” Webre said. “I wouldn’t be in this position if we weren’t a winning team or have the great teammates that I had behind me.”
Webre, batting third in the lineup, led the Rebels with a .444 average, six homers, six triples and tied for the team lead with 11 doubles. His .795 slugging percentage was also tops on the club, while his .511 on-base percentage was second.
With Teurlings gearing for its postseason run, intent on atoning for a state runner-up finish in 2015, Webre seemed to be at his best. He elevated his batting average by 100 points with five home runs and just three strikeouts the last month of the season.
Webre deflected his late-season surge to the improved offense from senior third baseman Chaney Dodge, who batted behind him.
“He really got hot at the end,” Webre said. “He allowed me to do my job. I knew if I didn’t get the job done, I had other guys who could do it and it put less pressure on me. It helped me become a better hitter at that point in the year.”
Thibodeaux said hitting was only part of the game Webre flourished in this past season. He also led the Rebels in runs scored (42), a testament to his ability to run the bases, along with solid defense in right field.
Nowhere was that more evident than during the state tournament when Webre saved a run with a spectacular catch in a 5-4 semifinal victory over Breaux Bridge. He also snapped a 4-4 tie with a homer.
Webre, who went 2-for-3 in the state championship game, recorded six putouts, including a diving catch that took away a potential lead-off hit in the fifth, enabling the Rebels to rally with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting this award,” Webre said. “I want to make my team, family and school proud. It’s an amazing accomplishment for me and my team.”