We love baseball. And we love LSU. So, this year, we excitedly tuned in to watch you play ball just like we do every other year. But this season, it was different. Your team was different. It wasn’t just that y’all were ranked #1 to open the season. It wasn’t just that you had the #1 recruiting class. Your talent was obvious, but there was something else. Even through the TV screen, it became apparent that this LSU team was extraordinary. We made sure to call our baseball-loving 10 and 8-year-old boys out to join us in the living room whenever we watched you. We knew they would enjoy getting to know y’all and be thrilled to watch you make it to Omaha as it seemed you were destined to do. And I was thrilled with the lessons you taught my sons.
You taught them not to let your stand-outs stand alone.
Your team has no shortage of studs, but they don’t work alone. While Skenes and Crews are slated to go #1 and #2 in the MLB draft and might be considered to be at the top of the pyramid, the rest of the team does a hell of a job holding those guys up. Thank you, Tommy “Tanks,” for your wide stance and home run power. Thank you, Josh Pearson for saving the game against Florida with your remarkable catch in left field. Tre Morgan, thanks for always being reliable with your stretches and plays at first base. Thank you, team, for showing my boys that everyone can be a star and that even the studs can’t win a game alone. You’ve demonstrated how important it is to believe in and trust one another and that winning (and losing) is a team effort.
You’ve shown them how to overcome and be willing.
You are a team of overcomers. Thank you, Gavin Dugas for returning as a 5th-year senior after going undrafted last year. Even after your eye exam revealed you to be legally blind and required you to have surgery, you were willing. And that’s how I would describe this whole team: willing. Cade Beloso, props to you for staying committed following your ACL injury. I can’t believe you postponed your wedding to stick it out, but I’m glad you did! Of course, you’ve all experienced your own unique struggles, yet you each pushed forward, leaning into the strength of one another. Thank you, Tigers, for teaching my boys to push, to be courageous, and to keep the faith in adversity.
You’ve stepped up and stood in the gap.
Gavin Guidry, I know you initially started your LSU career focused strictly on being an infielder. Thanks for quickly stepping in as a pitcher when needed. Hayden Travinski, I know you were bummed when you missed a few games in Omaha with your injury, but I know Alex Milazzo made you proud at catcher. Thank you all for highlighting the importance of teamwork and showing my boys what it looks like to step up when called upon.
You’ve demonstrated humility.
Paul Skenes, I know you’ve only been a Tiger for nine months, but you have quickly achieved celebrity status. Still, your humility never wavered. You are acutely aware that some of your Air Force teammates could die in combat while you play ball, and you keep that harsh reality at the forefront of your mind. I know you promise to serve one day, but I really appreciate that you donate to Folds of Honor in the meantime. Cade Beloso, I thought it was so sweet that even after hitting the first ever home run in extra innings at the College World Series, you became so anxious that you hid in the bathroom. My boys were stunned when they saw the clip of you in there, saying, “He gets nervous?” Gentlemen, I love that your team doesn’t take anything for granted and that you realize that at any moment, your luck can change.
Tigers, I am so proud of you. So, win or lose this final game, it has been a pleasure to cheer for you this season. Thank you for being a joy to watch and for leading by example for all the little wide-eyed ballplayers watching from home.
A Louisiana Baseball Momma