All future Lakeshore High baseball teams will be compared to the 2019 Titans.
A 33-5 record and a trip to the Class 4A state semifinals made it a season to remember.
Now, entering the 2019 summer baseball season, the Titans must replace four starters who graduated center fielder Jacob Bernard, right fielder Jared Hymel, catcher J.T. Singletary and Hunter Dean, one of its best pitchers.
Titans coach Steve Ceravolo is using the summer season to give his younger players experience he hopes will benefit them coming into the 2020 campaign. Ceravolo brought American Legion back to St. Tammany Parish for the first time in nearly a decade, with the Titans being sponsored by Bill Hood.
“Make no mistake about it: Every time we put the uniform on against an opponent we are going to compete to win,” Ceravolo said. “But with the summer, you try and balance that with developing your young players and seeing how they react. We have plenty we are trying to replace. We need new kids to come up and take ownership of this team.
“You can’t practice the types of situations that present themselves in summer. ... We want to see how the kids respond when things go good and even when things go bad."
Two of those new faces proved to be the difference in a June 3 game against the John Curtis-based Patriots, as senior Jacob Moore threw six innings, allowing a single earned run and striking out four, and junior Landen Neely smacked the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh to give the Titans a 6-5 victory.
Trailing 1-0 before they ever had an at-bat, Bill Hood answered with two runs in the bottom half of the first on an RBI single from Nicky Maus and a wild pitch that allowed Christian Westcott to score from third. The Titans pushed across two more runs in the fourth inning without the benefit of a hit to make it 4-2.
Still leading 4-2 heading into the top of the seventh, the Patriots answered with three runs to take a 5-4 advantage off Morgan Sauber. The Titans answered in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with no one out and taking home the win when Seely lined a two-run single back up the middle.
“It was pretty cool,” Seely said of his game-winning hit. “My goals this summer are simple: Get as many at-bats as humanly possible, get better in every aspect of the game so I’m ready to go at the start of the 2020 season.”
Moore, who finished with the no-decision, said he has simple goals as well for the summer.
“I had fought some injuries during the prep season and hadn’t pitched in a while,” he said. “It was great to just get back out there. My goals are simple, too: hit less people at the plate and do whatever is needed on the mound to help my team win.”