By Charlie Cavell, BPCC Athletic Coordinator
Seven Bossier Parish Community College players have been selected to participate in the NJCAA Region XIV All-Star Game on Saturday, Sept. 25, at Dallas Baptist University’s Horner Ballpark.
BPCC had the most players chosen among the Region XIV teams. The Cavaliers selected include pitchers Sean Goodwin, Zachary Saint Pierre and Caden Griffin, catcher Cole Ketzner, shortstop Mason Hammonds as well as outfielders Collin Young and Gabriel Cabrera.
“Getting seven guys in the all star game is great for the program,” said BPCC head coach Bobby Gilliam. “It’s a big event. The stands are filled with scouts, and it’s a fun atmosphere.
“We almost got eight players in the game. Gavin Baird hit .302 with two home runs and a 477 on base percentage last season and made it to the final round of voting.”
Goodwin, a right-handed pitcher from Niceville, Fla., missed all of 2021 after surgery. “At 6-6, 235 pounds Goodwin is an imposing presence on the mound,” said Gilliam. “He rehabbed at BPCC last year from Tommy John surgery after transferring from Tennessee. He is back healthy now and throwing his fastball in the mid-90s. He is the brother of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jimmy Nelson.”
A 5-11, 175-pound right-handed pitcher from Allen, Texas, St. Pierre posted a 4-4 record with a 5.27 ERA in 2021. He had 100 strikeouts in 68.1 innings pitched.
“We know St. Pierre will give us a chance to win every time he goes out,” said Gilliam. “He’s got front line stuff and an intense competitive mindset to go with it. He’s 91-94 with the fastball, a plus change up and a swing and miss slider. The numbers show this as he racked up 100 strike outs in 68 innings to only 30 walks.
“His strikeouts total ranked him number one in the east side of Region 14 and number 20 nationally in all divisions of NJCAA. We were all disappointed that he didn’t get drafted last summer because he had so much contact with major league clubs we believed it was going to happen.
“To his credit, he’s used it as fuel, got after it in the weight room and has come back to campus noticeably stronger and his pitches more refined.”
Ketzner was an All-Conference, All-Region catcher in 2021 after batting .338 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs.
“Cole (Ketzner) is a born leader, an old school kind of catcher that loves to play with top of the line toughness and an excellent receiver with superb blocking skills,” said Gilliam.
“There are a lot of really good defensive catchers. What separates Ketzner is his leadership abilities and his offensive skills. Hitting .338 with seven home runs last year shows he’s a middle of the order hitter.
“The one thing we told him in the exit meeting was let’s work on improving your throwing. From day one, there’s a clear difference in this skill set. He went home and worked and improved. When good players are willing to work to get better you know you are coaching a special player.”
Hammonds played in 41 of the Cavaliers’ 45 games last season and led the team with a .364 batting average.
“Hammonds led our team last year hitting .364 and can do all the things you want a shortstop to do,” said Gilliam. “He’s a complete defender. Everyone on the team knows he’s the definition of clutch at the plate.
“If you need one hit to win the game, I don’t know who better to have up than Mason. He showed this all last year. He’s another one of our guys that came back noticeably stronger, but just as much you see the confidence and assuredness of what he knows he can do on the field.
“He’s moving around faster and the game is playing slower for him. He went and played in the Sunflower League in Kansas this summer. He got more at bats and just kept playing the game, which is the name of the game.”
An outfielder from Magnolia, Texas, Young batted .253 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 27 games in 2021.
“Collin (Young) was guy that used his opportunities every chance he got last year,” said Gilliam. “He was platooning midway through the season but eventually earned his way into being an everyday starter.
He showed legitimate power hitting six home runs, and is another returner we have that looks ready to have a big year. He hit .315 with four home runs in the Sunflower League and made the All-Star team up there during the summer.
He’s a 6.7 runner that can play all three outfield positions, and I think he’s going to open up some eyes at the Region XIV All-Star Game.”
Used primarily as a designated hitter in 2021, Cabrera batted .312 with five home runs and drove in 36 runs.
“Cabrera signed with the University of Central Florida out of high school and eventually transferred to BPCC last year,” said Gilliam. “Gabe (Cabrera) was second on the team with 36 RBIs last season along with hitting .312 and five home runs.
“He gave us a presence in the middle of the order all season. He knows how to grind out at bats and hits the baseball hard. He brings energy every day and it’s infectious in a positive way. He is an experienced player that brings a veteran’s mentality to the team.
“He’s another returner that has come back bigger and stronger. He went back home to the Dominican Republic for the summer, trained and got at-bats against some big-time arms. His swing is smoother, more control of his body and I think it will lead to an even higher percentage of well struck balls this season.”
BPCC begins its fall baseball season on Saturday, Sept. 18, against in-state rival Baton Rouge Community College at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Alumni Field.