Denham Springs High School pitcher Jase McDonald loves to win. He’s a bigger fan of team accomplishments such as state or national championships.
McDonald’s hopeful that one this spring with the Yellow Jackets will lead to the other when the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder right-hander is a part of the LSU Eunice baseball program in 2020.
McDonald made it official Wednesday when the son of former Denham Springs High and LSU standout Ben McDonald signed with LSU Eunice during a ceremony in the school’s gymnasium.
“You’ve got a chance there to do something special,” McDonald said. “They’re always at the top. They’re 11-0 right now and ranked No. 1 in their division. You’ve always got a chance to do something special at LSU-E.
“No matter what team you’re on at the beginning of the season, whether it’s a state championship or a national championship, that’s what everybody talks about as your goal,” McDonald said. “You have a very good chance at LSU-E to reach that goal.”
Moreover, McDonald is confident in the track record of LSU Eunice coach Jeff Willis to develop players that adequately leave the Division II junior college power better prepared to play at the Division I level.
McDonald points to the glowing example of former LSU-E standout Raph Rhymes, who went on to star for LSU before embarking on a minor league career.
McDonald has similar aspirations, one he’s willing to patiently wait on while he further progresses under the tutelage of pitching coach Alan Orgain.
“Look at a program like LSU-E and the people that have come out of it,” McDonald said. “It’s a great place to go, get better and one day maybe play somewhere a little bigger.”
The Bengals were the Division II national champions a year ago, the third time the program has reached the summit in the last seven years.
McDonald’s immediate priority is to help lead Denham Springs to the top of mountain in Class 5A before departing to LSU-Eunice where he’s hopeful of holding down a role as a starter with the Bengals.
A year ago, McDonald finished the season as the No. 2 starter in the Yellow Jackets rotation. He went 3-5 with a 1.85 earned run average, allowed 39 hits in 45 innings with 27 strikeouts and walked 12.
“I feel like I’m a pretty good high school pitcher,” McDonald said. “I feel like I can do somethings and that I have room to grow. I don’t think I’m quite there to go and play at a big D1 school.
“I checked LSU-E out last year with an open mind, knowing it was a junior college and I was surprised,” McDonald said. “The facilities are very nice. I’ve talked to coach Orgain a lot and coach Willis a handful of times. I’m very comfortable with those guys. I know they’re excited to have me and I’m more excited to be with them because we’ll have a chance to do something very special there.”