NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
With a resounding sweep of Blue Mountain College on Thursday and Friday, Loyola baseball captured their first regular season conference title since athletics resumed in the early 1990′s.
“We did something that I’m so proud of that we’ll be able to tell our kids about for the rest of our lives,” says senior Peyton Lacoste.
But that’s only part of the story. What the Wolfpack accomplished this year was always bigger than one player, one team or one season.
“We changed the reputation of our baseball program,” says head coach Jeremy Kennedy. “The pride starts to change wearing the t-shirt. What you feel about wearing the t-shirt starts to change. We started to feel it in the community. We started to see the difference through our recruiting and how people are responding to us, how high school coaches are responding to us. It’s great. It gives kids in New Orleans another place that they can go and know that they can develop, and they can win.
But as Kennedy pointed out, no one turns a program around on their own. It takes a special group that’s united on every front. In fact, on a team packed with local players, one group came from one high school within the city.
“We actually have four guys from Holy Cross,” says junior Brenden Taravella. “Me, Cole Nalesnik, Trace Messina III and Michel Toscano. It means so much to us because we always looked at Loyola. When we came here, we wanted to really change the program. We wanted to create an environment like a winning culture ever since the first day we stepped on campus. So it really means a lot to be able to win a conference championship after our fourth year. It really means a lot to be able to do that in the school that we grew up around. We always heard about Loyola. We said we all wanted to go there and change the culture.”
The Wolfpack says they’ve heard from plenty of past players that are proud of the way they’ve elevated the program. It’s a compliment that gives this team pride in where they’ve come from and where they’re headed.
“We’re representing the whole university, all the people that came before us, and all the people here now,” says junior Allen Dennis. “This team couldn’t ask for a better group of guys.”
“We put it all together, and that’s what happens,” says Lacoste. “You get a good group of guys. You win a championship, and you keep winning more and more. The next thing you know, you’ve got a good program 10 years down the stretch, and I think that’s what we’re building here.”
Going forward, the goals now shift to a tournament championship where they’re the number one seed in the SSAC. Winning it would fit right in line with a season of unparalleled success.
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