Scouting the State Championship

Full evaluations of several LSU baseball commits, signees from the LHSAA State Championships this past weekend.

SULPHUR — The state's best high school baseball teams came together this past weekend for the LHSAA State Championships at McMurry Park in Sulphur.

TSD's Hunter Paniagua was in attendance for the semifinal matchups to check out the numerous LSU signees and commits in action. Altogether there were eight LSU pledges in action. Be sure to check out the photo gallery of future Tigers, and below is a scouting report of each one.

Perhaps the most impressive performance of the weekend came from 2014 signee Bryce Jordan (Barbe). In the Bucs' semifinal win over St. Amant, Jordan went 2-for2 at the plate, including a walk, with a well-struck double to left-center field. He's got a compact powerful frame with a smooth swing.

But the aspect of his game that really stood out was his defense behind the plate. Jordan didn't allow a pitch to get past him throughout the game, and he had extremely quick feet and reactions when fielding bunts and short dribblers. St. Amant didn't test him on the base paths, but his warmup throws were strong and very accurate.

His defense is the part of his game he's improved most within the last year, and LSU expects him to be a guy that contributes throughout all four years of his career. He'll step into a crowded position as LSU expects to return all three catchers from this year's team, plus fellow 2014 signee Mike Papierski. But this past weekend was a good indication of what LSU will get from Bryce Jordan.

His twin brother, Beau Jordan, is also a 2014 LSU signee and will be a corner outfielder on the next level. He had a quiet game in the semifinal, but he did hit a homer Saturday to help lead Barbe to a state championship against Live Oak. The LSU coaches have similar expectations for Beau as they do Bryce, in that even though the pro teams aren't interested in them out of high school, LSU feels both brothers will have solid four-year careers in Baton Rouge.

Sticking with 5A, 2015 commit Lenni Kunert (Live Oak) had a strong showing in a semifinal victory against Jesuit. He went 1-for-3 at the plate with a RBI-triple to right-center field, which provided him an opportunity to flash his tremendous speed. He's only about 5-foot-7, so it takes a lot of strides for him to get three bases, but he's extremely quick and reached third with plenty of time to spare.

He wasn't tested much defensively, with only one grounder coming his way at third base. He showed a smooth glove and strong arm, but his most impressive showing came on the mound.

Kunert won't be a pitcher on the next level, but he came on in relief in a dicey situation. He entered with one out in the sixth inning, runners on first and second with a one-run lead. After a strikeout for the second out, he walked a batter to load the bases. But he battled back and got another strikeout to end the inning.

In the seventh, he allowed a leadoff single, then a SAC bunt moved the runner into scoring position. A pop fly made two outs, but a wild pitch in the next at-bat put the tying run at third. Kunert induced another pop out to seal the victory. He showed tremendous poise in that situation, which gave a pretty good indication of his mental makeup, a positive sign for the next level.

Another future LSU infielder impressed on the mound in the semifinal round. Kinder's Dylon Poncho, a 2015 commit, pitched a complete game Friday in his team's victory against Riverside, but he'll either be a second baseman or short stop on the next level.

Aside from one rough inning in which he allowed five runs, Poncho was mostly dominant the rest of the way. He wasn't at his sharpest, but he did retire nine of the last 10 batters he faced, including four strikeouts in the final three innings. He also had a double at the plate, and led Kinder to a state title Saturday against Catholic-New Iberia.

2016 RHP commit Brennan Maddox (Fairview)

2016 commit Brennan Maddox (Fairview) will likely be a right-handed pitcher in college, but he wasn't able to take the mound this weekend. He strained a ligament in his throwing arm in February and won't resume pitching until this summer at the earliest. He's been limited to only hitting throughout this season, but he played third base for the first time this season for his team's semifinal, extra-inning victory against Monterey.

When Maddox can throw, he has a fastball that touches 90 mph with a developing slider and changeup. Only a sophomore, Maddox still has plenty of time to improve, and LSU's excited about his potential on the mound.

No other game during the weekend featured more LSU recruits than the 4A semifinal between St. Thomas More and St. Michael the Archangel. 2015 commits OF Brennan Breaux and MIF O'Neal Lochridge (STM) got the edge over 2015 IF commit Christopher Reid (St. Michael).

Lochridge is a big name in the 2015 class, as he's one that should attract some MLB Draft attention next summer. He's a smooth shortstop on the high school level with skills that should translate well to college. At about 6-foot-1, he has a good frame, strong arm and a lot of range up the middle. He made all but one play in the semifinal, including a diving stop on a shot up the middle to save a run.

Breaux's also impressive defensively with a lot of speed in the outfield, similar to former STM teammate Andrew Stevenson. Breaux can cover a lot of ground and can play all three outfield positions on the next level. He also has a strong arm, which will come in handy in college.

Reid plays a smooth third base, and was perfect on all fielding opportunities. He's aggressive charging the ball with a strong, accurate arm on throws to first.

Another name to keep an eye on from that game was 2016 STM 3B Mason Templet. He's played his entire sophomore season through a knee injury, and the LSU coaches are closely monitoring him moving forward. He's got a long frame with great range on the corner infield, and could probably develop into a short stop as he matures physically.

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