North Park offers new site for all-star contest; coaches familiar faces

The Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s All-Star baseball games have a new home to go along with some familiar faces.

North Park in Denham Springs is the site of the two-day event that begins with a 7:30 p.m. Friday game. A second game at is set for 12:15 p.m. Saturday.

“I’ve been coaching for 34 years and to get the chance serve as the head coach at this point in my career means a lot to me,” West coach Scott McCullough of Acadiana High said.

“I’ve been an assistant twice, and I also served as the coordinator back in the 1980s when it was at LSU.

“Denham Springs is the fourth site we’ve had, and I think everybody is looking forward to it. I get to coach and play against some of the best players in the state. And I get to coach with some coaches I admire. It can’t be much better than that.”

McCullough, a 1972 Broadmoor High graduate, is one of two familiar faces set to serve as a LHSCA head coach for the first time. Longtime St. Amant coach Bob Lemons, now an assistant at East Ascension, is the East coach.

Players on the 25-player rosters report at 11 a.m. Friday for a pregame practice and meal. Alexandria was the LHSCA site for more than a decade through 2012.

Abbeville, LSU and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette were other previous locales dating to the 1980s, McCullough said.

“I’m going to Denham Springs (Thursday night) to meet with the (assistant) coaches,” Lemons said. “We’re going to go over the roster and come up with a plan. Of course, tomorrow we’ll get a look at everybody during practice tomorrow, and that might change a few things but not much.”

Each roster has its share of star power. For example, the West has Loreauville’s Evan Hebert, an Arizona signee, while Terrebonne outfielder Justin Williams is an LSU signee who has an eye toward the professional baseball draft.

McCullough points to Shaw pitcher J.P. France (Tulane signee;) Barbe pitcher Sloan Dieter, a transfer from Class 1A St. Mary’s-Natchitoches; and E.D. White pitcher Scott Szush as West players to note that fans may not know as much about.

Runnels’ Alden Cartwright (LSU) and Lutcher’s Corey Merrill (Tulane) are among the top pitchers for the East, along with Dutchtown’s Cole Stapler (Nicholls State), while 6-foot-6 Zach Osbon of Monroe’s Claiborne Christian is another player eying the pro draft.

McCullough gets to coach with friend and longtime rival Sam Taulli of Lafayette High and North DeSoto’s Bo Odom.

Lutcher’s Davey Clement and Maurepas’ Anthony Gregoire are the East assistants.

“You can plan out your pitching, but that’s really about it, because all the position players will start one of the two games,” McCullough said.

“It’s all about letting them (players) showcase their talent,” Lemons said. “We (coaches) won’t be holding them back. We’ll turn them loose and let it rip.”