Since John Hathorn was a young boy growing up in Houston or completing his high school career at Ascension Episcopal in Youngsville, there was always one constant in the life.
“Sports-wise, the first thing I did was pick up a bat,” Hathorn said. “Baseball’s always been a big part of my life.”
Given what the sport’s meant to him, this weekend will be somewhat sentimental where Hathorn’s career will probably culminate in this weekend’s Louisiana High School Coaches Baseball All-Star game.
Hathorn, an outfielder, will represent the West team which faces the East, at 7 p.m. Friday at North Park in Denham Springs. A second game is at 12:15 p.m. Saturday.
“I feel really honored to be picked,” Hathorn said. “If you look at the field of players, you see that I’ll be among some of the best that Louisiana baseball has to offer. You’re going to see a bunch of them playing in college.”
Hathorn is at peace, though, with the all-star doubleheader signifying the end of his competitive baseball career. He is set to enroll at LSU’s Honor College and major in petroleum engineering.
“I just enjoy baseball and playing with great players will make it a lot of fun,” Hathorn said. “This will most likely be my last high school game; I want to go out there and leave it all on the field. This is a great way to go out.”
For a budding program that’s advanced to the second round of the Class 1A playoffs the past three years, Hathorn represents a milestone: the first AES baseball player to take part in the all-star event.
“Our school’s honored to have someone selected to the all-star game,” AES coach Lonny Landry said. “John stepped right in and started for three years. He’s just been a steady player. He’s been really good defensively and can run really well.”
Hathorn literally “stepped” into a starting role at Ascension Episcopal after moving from Houston and playing at Strake-Jesuit in February of his sophomore year.
Hathorn worked with Landry in the field, took some cuts in the batting cage and two days later was penciled in the Blue Gators’ starting lineup in left field where he remained for three seasons.
“Ascension was very welcoming to me,” said Hathorn, who also played football the past two years and soccer as a junior. “I went straight to the field, and that helped me fit in with the baseball team. I think they were in need of a left fielder, so it ended up working out for both of us.”
Hathorn played in left field for two years and batted in the middle portion of AES’ lineup, earning first team All-District 7-1A honors this season with a .360 average, 28 of 32 stolen bases, 25 runs scored and 17 RBIs.
Because of an injury to the team’s starting center fielder, Hathorn said he enjoyed playing more of his natural position as a senior, taking advantage of his leadership ability and gap-to-gap speed.
“I think I played selflessly and never cared about my average,” Hathorn said. “The only thing I cared about was winning.
“I knew I was put wherever I would do the best for the team, which was OK with me.”