“Never dreamed the kid would ever be good enough for LSU. He’s from Maurepas.” WILL DAVIS, LSU assistant coach, on Kade Scivicque
Sometimes a line forms behind Greg Fontenot as he unlocks the door of his dad’s store, Whitehall Grocery and Hardware.
Each morning an antsy group of older gentlemen enjoys coffee at the business, located on Highway 22 in the small bayou community of Maurepas.
There are times when they just can’t wait to get in.
They chat about the weather, the local news and Kade Scivicque.
Not in that order.
“He’s the first thing they talk about,” Fontenot said during a busy day at the store Thursday. “It’s getting talked about a lot.”
Scivicque, the unpredictable big-hitting star of the LSU baseball team, is the talk of the town — his town, Maurepas.
Scivicque might be the only athlete from the small community to ever gain a major college athletic scholarship.
It’s a tough thing to prove, but, no matter, he’s in rare company among those from Maurepas, an unincorporated swath of land to the west of Lake Pontchartrain.
Scivicque leads LSU’s everyday starters in batting average, slugging percentage and home runs. He’s started 19 games, more than any other player aside from shortstop Alex Bregman.
“He’s been a real godsend,” coach Paul Mainieri said.
No one could have predicted this.
Scivicque, a junior college transfer, only popped up on LSU’s radar because volunteer assistant Will Davis did a friend a favor. Upon arriving this fall, he began as a likely part-time player competing for playing time at catcher and first base.
Entering LSU’s series this weekend against Georgia (14-8, 1-2 SEC), he’s developed into a guy Mainieri can’t afford to have on the bench.
Scivicque hit a solo homer in Wednesday’s win over South Alabama, launching a hanging slider well up the bleachers beyond Alex Box Stadium’s left-field wall.
For four innings, he had the only two hits of the game for the Tigers (18-4, 1-2).
Who’d have thunk it? Not the guy who found him.
“Never dreamed the kid would ever be good enough for LSU,” said Davis, in his seventh year on LSU’s staff. “He’s from Maurepas.”
How small is Maurepas?
“The nearest Walmart is 30 minutes away,” Scivicque said.
The town has three restaurants, one school and no stoplights. It has no police station and one volunteer fire station. It’s surrounded by three rivers, two lakes and a bayou.
Highway 12 cuts across the community, and arteries from it branch off into neighborhoods.
They’re all mostly dead ends, said Fontenot, a 28-year-old whose parents have owned Whitehall Grocery and Hardware for 23 years.
“There’s one way in,” Fontenot said, “and one way out.”
It’s tough to get a population count on Maurepas since it’s unincorporated, but Fontenot’s family sends advertisement to each house in the area.
They send 800.
It’s so small that Scivicque won’t name his favorite restaurant of the three in town — Val’s Marina, Red’s Restaurant and Bar, and Sue’s Café — because he doesn’t want to tick off the other two.
So what do people do for fun in Maurepas?
“A lot of fishing,” Scivicque said smiling.
His activities also included baseball.
He was a four-year first-team all-state performer at Maurepas High School, but had no suitors despite his gaudy statistics.
Maurepas played in Class B or C. It had about 100 students. Scivicque’s graduating class was 16.
Getting noticed wasn’t easy.
Even the locals had their questions about his skills.
“At Maurepas he was a standout,” Fontenot said, “but everybody was like, ‘This is a small school. How can he really do against the big competition?’”
This is where Davis comes in.
“His cousin is a friend of mine,” Davis said. “He called wanting to know if I could talk to him and give him advice.
“Doing a favor for a friend,” he said.
Scivicque called Davis one night. Davis called friends around the business.
It led to a tryout at Southwest Mississippi Community College and a scholarship offer.
Two years later, Scivicque was an all-state junior college performer who drove in 37 runs and batted .321.
Suitors were everywhere: Mississippi State, Southern Miss, UNO. And, of course, LSU.
His traveling team played at Alex Box Stadium during a tournament in the summer. That’s when he first impressed Mainieri. He was offered a scholarship and accepted.
“His story is great,” Bregman said. “He’s a small-town guy.”
And he’s become the talk of that town.
“Everybody,” Fontenot said, “is talking about it.”