The biggest thing Travis Swaggerty and Cade Doughty had in common was Denham Springs High School. Swaggerty is a former DSHS baseball standout and Doughty is a rising standout with two years of eligibility remaining with the Yellow Jackets.
That has changed when both players were named to different USA Baseball rosters.
Swaggerty, a South Alabama outfielder, is part of the USA Baseball Collegiate squad that is in the midst of a 20-game schedule. Doughty will take part in USA Baseball’s 17-and-under Developmental Program from July 22-29 in Chicago.
“Nothing really compares to this,” Swaggerty said. “Not only is it a great experience to learn and play with some of the best players in college, just being able to compete for Team USA ... to wear that across your chest is such an honor.
“This is the kind of experience that is invaluable and I wouldn't trade it for anything. This week we’re playing Cuba and next week we’ll play Japan.”
The USA Collegiate team is 11-1 and held a 3-0 lead in its five-game series with Cuba through Wednesday night. Because this is a non-travel year, Swaggerty’s team has played most of its game at the USA Baseball training Center in Cary, North Carolina. One game was played in Durham, North Carolina, in the home of the Class AAA Durham Bulls.
Swaggerty led the USA team in hitting with a .417 average in its sweep of Chinese Taipei last week. He is hitting over .400 overall and was 1-for-2 in a 5-0 win over Cuba on Wednesday.
The USA Baseball success follows a sophomore season in which Swaggerty earned second-team Louisiana Slugger American Baseball Coaches Association All-America honors for South Alabama. He hit .356 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs. Swaggerty earned freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball in 2016.
“I didn’t realize he (Swaggerty) was doing this until I got a call from Jesse Cassard (former Zachary coach) who was working at the training center,” Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll said. “This is awesome for him and should help improve his draft stock for next year.
“Cade being part of the developmental team is part of the process they have as they build toward the under-18 team next year. And of course, we had (Mac) Sceroler (of Southeastern, a pitcher and fifth-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds) sign professionally. All these things are good.”
Doughty helped Denham Springs advance to the Class 5A quarterfinals. He played shortstop and hit .398 with 24 stolen bases and 23 RBIs after a successful stint on the USA Baseball under-15 team last summer. He is listed as an infielder/outfielder and will likely play third base/center field at the week-long camp that features intrasquad games at Wrigley Field and Northwestern University.
“This is considered to be a stepping-stone to the under-18 team next year,” the 16-year-old Doughty said. “I plan to get everything I can out of the experience. I like the challenge of being around the top players from across the country. It really gets me amped up and that pushes me to play even better.”
More baseball honors
Central High coach Mike Forbes was selected as the All-USA Louisiana Coach of the Year by USA Today.
Forbes’ Central team won the Class 5A title, ousting nationally ranked West Monroe to win its first LHSAA title since the mid-1990s. West Monroe’s Jacob Pearson, who signed recently with the Los Angeles Angels, was picked as the Player of the Year.
St. Amant pitcher Blayne Enlow, Parkview Baptist outfielder Daniel Cabrera and Brusly first baseman Ben Bergeron made the squad. Enlow recently signed with the Minnesota Twins.
Former Hosanna Christian/Bethany Christian coach Pat Doise is the athletic director at The Church Academy-Baton Rouge.
The school was previously known as Christian Life Academy and became The Church Academy this month.
Meanwhile, a former CLA assistant coach, Antonio Broadway, has been named the boys basketball coach at Class 2A Springfield High. Broadway was an assistant to former CLA coach Stephen Dale, who is now the head coach at St. Paul’s. He was an assistant to Mark Erdey at Springfield in 2016-17.