Regardless of the magnitude of the moment, which in Cade Doughty’s case translated into relentless Major League Baseball scouts detailing his every move, the Denham Springs High senior always tried to remember one thing.
“As the season progressed, I learned to tone it out and stay true to my game, keep doing what I’ve been doing since I was four years old,” he said. “Just have fun.”
Despite the constant scrutiny associated with being a high-end prospect, Doughty cast a blind eye to the chaotic perimeter where scouts often congregated, instead focusing on the task at hand, which was to enjoy his senior season and help lead the Yellow Jackets to a successful season.
While his final high school season didn’t manifest the type of team success he envisioned, Doughty certainly was a smashing success once again at the plate and in the field, earning the 2019 All-Parish Most Valuable Player – marking the second consecutive year to claim the honor.
“It’s good to see somebody blessed with a whole bunch of talent and he works really hard to get some of the things he’s getting like these awards,” Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll said. “There’s a million guys with that kind of talent but the difference is the work ethic and the attitude. He understood that from day one and did that most of the time.”
While he was the parish’s headliner once again, the All-Parish team also featured top award winners Live Oak’s Sal Palermo (Pitcher of the Year), Doyle’s Tyson Stewart (Offensive Player of the Year) and Live Oak’s Lane Hutchinson (Defensive Player of the Year).
Doyle’s Tim Beatty was selected Coach of the Year.
Doughty became the first player from Denham Springs to earn the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, an honor that combines athletic and academic achievement along with off-the-field character.
There weren’t any complaints from an offensive standpoint where the right-handed Doughty improved his batting average nearly .200 points over his junior season.
“Discipline at the plate,” Doughty said of one of his biggest improvements over a year ago. “I used to get up there, kind of antsy, kind of swinging out of my shoes with pitches that I really couldn’t do anything with. This year was a learning experience. Being able to hit curveballs and knowing they’re coming and drive them with authority helped me out a lot. That’s what made me so successful this year.”
Carroll agreed that Doughty became a more complete hitter, someone able to use all parts of the field and hit the ball where it was pitched.
“He did a better job this junior season of using the whole field,” he said. “He did a real good job of hitting the ball back side this year. That’s part of the growing and maturing experience and he did a good job with that.”
Doughty batted .505 and maintained a robust .620 on-base percentage – a number boosted in part by the number of walks he commanded. He experienced a five-homer increase over a year ago to six overall to go along with 40 runs scored, 11 doubles, and 15 stolen bases.
“The extra-base hits were one of the biggest parts of my game,” Doughty said. “I was excited to be able to drive the ball in the gap, maybe stretch it into a double. Being aggressive kind of puts me in a position to take an extra bag because I’m playing so hard.
“I think I definitely improved from last year and the year before that,” he said. “That’s always the goal; to keep improving and to keep getting better. Keep putting myself in position where I can be the best player I can be. This year was a definitely a couple of steps forward and we’ll see how I continue that.”