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High school baseball: New head coaches set to make debuts as season begins Monday

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Two new head coaches make their debuts Monday as the high school baseball season opens.

Dane Peavy has replaced J.D. Stephens at Benton, the parish’s most successful team over the last decade. Stephen’s stepped down after winning eight straight district championships and the 2018 Class 4A state championship.

Peavy was the head coach at DeRidder last season. He is also a former North Webster head coach.

The Tigers visit Evangel Christian at 6 p.m.

Jay “Sham” Shamblyn Gabehart takes over at Parkway. Gabehart served as the pitching coach at Zachary last season. He is a former head coach at South Terrebonne and Dunham School.

The Panthers host Calvary Baptist at 6. At 5:45, a ceremony will be held dedicating and naming the field Ronnie Coker Field.

Another new head coach, Bossier’s Jason Blackmon, makes his debut Tuesday when the Bearkats visit Southwood at 6.

In other openers Monday, Haughton takes on Alexandria at Northwestern State at 5, and Airline plays 2021 Class 5A runner-up West Monroe at Louisiana Tech at 7.

Plain Dealing opens its season Tuesday at Weston at 5.

Peavy takes over a Benton team that went 27-7 last season and won the District 1-5A championship with a 13-1 mark. The Tigers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by Dutchtown.

Benton is in just its third season in Class 5A. Its first was the 2020 season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tigers don’t have as much experience as past years. Gone are the top four pitchers from last season — Grayson Gates, Brock Van Hoy, Grayson Mims and Hayden Hable.

Gates, the Outstanding Pitcher on the 2021 All-Parish team, is now at Northwestern State. Hable is at Southern Arkansas.

Another big loss is shortstop Clint Lasiter, a four-year starter now at Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Tigers return first-team All-Parish catcher Gavin Jacobs and second-team outfielder Cade Stewart. Outfielder Brady Blaylock is also back.

Parkway went 21-12 last season in David George’s final season as head coach and almost upset No. 2 seed West Monroe in the second round, falling 4-3 in the decisive third game of the series.

The Panthers have an experienced pitching staff with Cade Josting, Trenton Lape and Sean Waites all returning. Returning first-team All-District second baseman Brandon Levy also pitched last season.

Outfielder Barrett Newman andvcatcher Cameron Fink are also back. Tyler Bouillon and Tanner Kirkland, who can play multiple positions, give the Panthers more experience.

Glenn Maynor enters his 28th season as head coach at Haughton 12 wins shy of career victory No. 600.

This will be the first season since 2017 that he won’t have Peyton Stovall in the infield. The four-year starter and All-American, who played both second baseman and shortstop, is now the starting first baseman at SEC and national power Arkansas.

Outfielder Carter Griffin, now at Southern Arkansas, will be tough to replace along with two pitchers that contributed for three years, Chase Keith and Jacob Hernandez, who is now at BPCC.

Maynor returns a solid core group, though. They include first-team All-District outfielder Colin Rains, first-team pitcher Austin Anderson and second-team first baseman Roman Tolbert. Also back is second baseman Chan Lytle, a first-team All-District and All-Parish selection at designated hitter.

Toby Todd enters his 22nd season as head coach at Airline. Last season the Vikings missed the playoffs for only the second time during his tenure.

With five senior starters returning, there is plenty of reason for optimism this season.

Catcher Carson Carey, a first-team All-District selection last season who signed with Northwestern State, is back.

Harrison Waxley, a four-year starter and Louisiana Christian commit, returns at third base. The other returning seniors are pitcher Caleb Hemmings, infielder Matthew Scripture and center fielder Keegan Lehr.

Sophomore pitcher Carter White, a second-team All-Parish selection last season, is another player with experience. 

Bossier is coming off a 6-17 season. The Bearkats lost first-team All-Parish selection Coleman Beeson, a pitcher and infielder, to graduation.

Second-team All-Parish catcher Braedan Sterling heads the list of returning players for Plain Dealing Head Coach Brian Morrow. The Lions are coming off an 6-14 season, including 3-2 in District 1-1A.

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