Last season was one of mixed results for Bossier Parish high school baseball teams.
After moving up to Class 5A, the Haughton Buccaneers had another solid season, finishing 22-10 and sharing second place in District 1-5A.
Benton also enjoyed some success, finishing runner-up in District 1-4A and 17-13 overall.
Both lost one-run games in the first round of the playoffs.
But Parkway and Airline had atypical down seasons.
The Panthers, competing for the first time in Class 5A, went 12-21. Airline, which won the district title in 2011, finished 11-22. Neither team made the playoffs.
With the 2013 season set to start Thursday, three parish teams have new head coaches — Bossier (David George), Benton (JD Stephens) and Louisiana New Tech at Plain Dealing (Michael Thomas).
Here is a look at each parish team.
Haughton: The Bucs return two All-Parish players in pitcher/third baseman Josh Walker and left fielder Zach Lemley.
Walker may be the top returning player in the parish. He was 9-1 on the mound with a 1.50 ERA.
The Bucs also return infielder/pitcher Logan McHan, second baseman John Tomb, centerfielder Matthew Anthony and Levi Sharp, who plays multiple positions including pitcher.
Haughton coach Glenn Maynor is also looking for good things from sophomore pitcher Seth Bradshaw.
“If we play well we can contend for the district championship,” Maynor said. “If we don’t, we could finish fifth.”
Parkway: Holden Orgeron, a senior three-year starter, tops coach Rick Bryant’s list of returnees.
A right fielder and pitcher, Orgeron had a 3.00 ERA last season and led the team with 20 stole bases.
“Holden has great leadership skills and character and will be a big part of our success this season both on the mound and at the plate,” Bryant said in an email.
Catcher Clay Carroll, whom Bryant calls a “defensive leader,” is back after missing most of last season with an injury.
Tyler Churchwell is moving from catcher to first base.
Bryant is also high on Rob Harper and Jon Koestner, both of whom pitched some last season.
Tyler Schilling, who became the starting third baseman late last season, will play third again and pitch.
Bryant also expects big things out of outfielder Demetrius McAtee, infielder Kyle Laverdiere, shortstop Austin Averitt, outfielder Hunter Webb and second baseman Hagen Meshell.
“Hagen has the potential to be the best defensive second baseman in the district this season,” he said.
Airline: Coach Toby Todd returns three starters — shortstop Dalton Gould, catcher Chad Rambin and second baseman Will Goodwin.
Gould is a three-year starter. Rambin is a two-year starter and has been a member of the varsity all four of his years at Airline.
Goodwin played in left field last season.
“This is a senior-led team with some talented young additions,” Todd said.
The Vikings return eight pitchers who played in varsity games last season — Sterling Magee, Andrew Lowe, Hunter Conkle, Chad Poulsen, Andrew Maxey, Landon Lewis, Hunter Harris and Jake Hiers.
Benton: Stephens was an assistant at Captain Shreve before coming to Benton and helped the Gators win a state championship.
The Tigers return two All-Parish players, catcher Andrew Cole and pitcher Aaron Henigan.
Shortstop/pitcher Jordan Shaffer was honorable mention All-Parish.
Stephens said Cole, a left-hander who will bat leadoff, “is a great leader and controls the game well from the catcher position.”
Henigan is the leader of the Tigers’ rotation, Stephens said.
“He has developed into a dual-threat guy both on the mound and with the bat.”
Shaffer is the Tigers’ No. 2 pitcher “and is just as valuable as our shortstop,” Stephens said.
“Our guys have put in a lot of work in the off season, and have stayed healthy,” Stephens said. “They are eager to get the season started. I am thankful for all our guys and the work ethic they bring to the field each day.”
Brian France, who served as interim head coach the last two seasons, is an assistant coach.
Bossier: George brings a wealth of baseball knowledge and experience to the head coaching position.
Jake Gray, an All-District 1-3A selection last year, tops the list of returnees from last season’s 11-16 team that barely missed the playoffs. He will move from shortstop to second base.
Also back is three-year starter Lane Holt, a left fielder.
George also expects shortstop/pitcher Rodney Bonds, a transfer from Airline, to be a major contributor.
“As my first year as head coach at Bossier, I am trying to instill a respect for the game and a winning attitude,” George said. “We have a set of goals that we have set for the season and I believe that the players I have will accomplish those goals.”
Louisiana New Tech at Plain Dealing: Thomas has three seniors back who made second-team All-District 1-1A last season — pitcher/shortstop Zack Brown, center fielder Kaino Long and second baseman Cardarrious Ray.
Weston Bates (catcher/first baseman) and Ryley Penwell (right fielder/first baseman) were honorable mention All-District picks last season.