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Dalton Aspholm (23)

Central's Dalton Aspholm became a big-time weapon for the Wildcats down the stretch toward their second straight Class 5A state title.

The Central High-to-Southeastern Louisiana pipeline remains productive in generating athletic resources, especially on the baseball field.

Four months after the Lions signed a pair of players off the two-time Class 5A state championship team, another Wildcat - pitcher/third baseman Dalton Aspholm - decided to make Hammond his collegiate destination along with former teammates Hunter Arnold and Brant Husser.

“I know a lot of people going to Southeastern,” said Aspholm, who committed to SLU over an offer from Nicholls State. “It’s going to be fun to play with my friends Hunter and Husser. I thought it was a good place for me to go to school. I liked the coaches, I liked the people. That’s where I want to go.”

The 6-foot, 180-pound Aspholm was a versatile contributor in Central’s successful defense of its Class 5A state title.

A year after pitching sparingly behind established veterans such as Ma’Khail Hilliard and Husser in 2017, Aspholm saw action for the Wildcats in both a starting and relief role while starting at third base and hitting in the bottom half of the team’s batting order.

Aspholm said he will strictly pitch for SLU coach Matt Riser.

“He’s a player that’s gotten better each year,” Central coach Mike Forbes said. “He’s got a high work ethic and is a very coachable kid who is willing to try new things to make himself better. What sets him apart is his persona in what you want out of a baseball player.”

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Central baseball head shots Dalton Aspholm (2018)

Aspholm

Aspholm, who batted .239 with 25 RBIs and earned second team All-District 4-5A honors at third base, started six games on the mound and made five other appearances in relief.

Aspholm’s contributions were magnified during Central’s run to another state championship, beginning with effective relief appearances in the state quarterfinal and semifinal round.

Although he didn’t enter either game in a save situation, Aspholm helped the Wildcats (28-12-1) close out a 7-2 Game 3 victory at top-seeded Zachary. He followed that up in a 10-5 semifinal win over Barbe, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning with a pair of strikeouts.

“He had a hand in a lot of positive things once we got into the playoffs,” Forbes said.

Aspholm saved his best for last, as in a scoreless state championship game against Sulphur, he gave Central a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the fourth inning. He came back in the bottom of the inning with a key defensive play, nabbing a base runner in a rundown between third and home to stop a potential rally.

Aspholm was voted the MVP of the state championship game – a 4-0 victory.

“You just have to show up to play and when you get called on, you’ve just got to do what you can,” Aspholm said. “You’ve got to know that you’re good enough to do it and keep your mind right. I like playing in the playoffs. That’s the most fun thing in all of baseball. That’s what you play to do.”

Aspholm also captured his share of postseason magic a year earlier in a 5-4 state regional victory over District 4-5A foe Live Oak in 13 innings.

Aspholm went three scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts for his first win of the season – a game that Hilliard saved.

He also delivered a key double in his only plate appearance of the game, leading off the 13th with what led to the Wildcats’ game-winning run.

“It hit really hit me my freshman year that I really wanted to play college ball,” said Aspholm, who played this summer with Team Louisiana. “I just wanted to play hard and have fun before that. When I realized I could play college ball, I put my mind to it and started getting after it.”