DENHAM SPRINGS – Veteran baseball coach Mark Carroll believes a big part of the success he envisions for his 2020 Denham Springs baseball team will be centered around the highlight of the program’s early signing period.
Senior first baseman Brennan Hall and fellow senior center fielder Gabe Spedale, two players the Yellow Jackets will count on in the spring, signed scholarship papers with Baton Rouge Community College and LSU Eunice, respectively, during a ceremony at Grady Hornsby Gym.
“The good thing to me is they’re super-good kids,” Carroll said. “They worked really hard and that’s what you want as a coach. They’re going to listen to you and if you tell them something or show them something, they’re going to try. They’re going to be very good parts of our team this year. It’s going to be a good bunch again and we expect good things from both of them.”
Hall, who started a year, is expected to provide Denham Springs with a solid defensive first baseman and supply a productive right-handed bat. He was a second-team All-District 4-5A and All-Livingston Parish selection last season where he batted .247 with 15 RBIs.
“I want to be a leader, be an example,” Hall said. “You have to make the most of the moment you get because you never know when it’s going to be last.”
Hall said his first meeting with first-year BRCC coach Thomas Simoneaux was all it took to realize where he wanted to continue his career.
“Meeting him for the first time really stuck out to me,” Hall said. “Just the presence he gave and the organization he’s building was a fit. This fall they’ve done really well and progressed a lot. I saw that and said this was place I wanted to go.”
Spedale, whose older brother Tristan played at Denham Springs, will be in his first season after transferring from Central Private where he started for three years.
Carroll said Spedale brings several tools the Yellow Jackets figure to benefit from – speed on both bases and in outfield, solid left-handed bat and left arm that will figure into the team’s pitching plans.
“His first game with us this summer, he hit a chopper into the hole at second base and beat it out,” Carroll said. “He stole a base, hit a triple over right fielder’s head and threw a guy out at the plate. That was a pretty good audition.”
Spedale said he looks forward to jump in competition to Class 5A with Denham Springs after playing at Central Private which competed in the Mississippi Association of Independent School (MAIS).
Spedale, a two-time all-district MVP and All-State selection batted .462 with 13 doubles, six triples and went 7-1 on the mound.
“I’m really excited about it,” Spedale said of being at Denham Springs. “Back in MAIS we didn’t really see much competition until the playoffs. I’m glad to see it at Denham Springs the whole year. That’s going to be really fun.”
Spedale believes he’s capable of playing any of the outfield positions and knows one thing: if he can hit, he’ll make a case to be in the LSU Eunice lineup on a regular basis.
“LSU-E is a really good fit,” Spedale said. “Since I’m not a super big player, they have a really good program where I can get stronger and bigger, really learn the finer points of the game.
“I was looking for a place where I could go in and play right away,” Spedale said. “I feel as long I continue to my hard and effort I’ll go there and play.”