Swampland Baseball League returns for 15th season
HOUMA, La. (AP) — Some teams want to win every game. Others are simply looking to gain a little experience while experimenting with potential lineups for next spring.
The rest are just praying the rain holds off long enough to get a full season of summer baseball exhibitions in before the end of June, when most of its athletes will start preparing to go back to school for the fall.
No matter what the main objective is, the Swampland Summer Baseball League is marking its 15th season along the bayou region, in a series of offseason games for Lafourche and Terrebonne parish high schools.
The season opened with varsity and junior varsity games at Thibodaux, Central Lafourche, E.D. White Catholic, H.L. Bourgeois, Terrebonne and Central Catholic. Joining them are Berwick, Patterson, Ellender, Morgan City, South Lafourche and South Terrebonne. Teams play 14 games at six innings for varsity teams and five innings for JV.
“It’s basically a preparation tool,” Central Lafourche coach Simon Badeaux said. “Who is a varsity player? Who are our guys? Who are going to be our starters? What pitchers need 20 minutes in the bullpen before they get on the mound? What pitchers need five pitches in middle relief and they’re ready to ride? Who is our leadoff guy? Who is our explosive guy?
“We use the summer to answer those questions.”
Only players returning to their respective JV or varsity teams can play in the league, giving a prime opportunity to coaches looking to formulate a full lineup come the spring when games count and preseason workouts can be short.
Central Lafourche will field about 31 players split between varsity and JV while South Terrebonne expects its entire lineup to be present all summer.
Dave Constant said the E.D. White squad will be short a few players at times this summer due to other travel leagues and not wanting to over work arms just a few weeks after finishing up their 2019 regular season.
All three coaches agreed that while winning is preferable, the overall objective for the summer is to figure out who fits where and what needs to be developed before spring.
“We’re going to work on some things that may actually cause us to lose games this summer,” South Terrebonne coach Mike Barba said. “But in the long run it’s going to make us better. You have to have certain things in your game and you have to improve on them or you’re not going to go very far.”
The Swampland has been hit hard the past few years by rain, cancelling most of the 2017 season and eliminating the playoffs in 2018.
While the league has not made an official decision one way or the other regarding the 2019 playoffs, it will depend on how the weather holds up throughout the next few months.
The Swampland once again maintains its stance that all games should be made up if a rainout occurs, explicitly stating there will be no forfeits.
“This past year we put up a lot of runs,” Constant said. “So I would think coming into the summer we’d have some younger guys working on some small ball. You definitely work on a few different things.”
Information from: Daily Comet, http://www.dailycomet.com