Despite significant obstacles, Warren Easton baseball team is thriving
Excellence on the football field at Warren Easton High School has become “old hat.”
Under head coaches Tony Hull and Jerry Phillips, deep playoff runs are the norm at 3019 Canal Street with four trips to the state finals in the last eight seasons and a host of college signees nearly every year.
The girls’ basketball program at Easton has soared in recent years, winning back-to-back state crowns in 2018 and 2019 while just missing a three-peat with a runner-up finish in 2020.
Hearing about the Warren Easton Baseball Eagles is rare. However, that could change this season.
Under the direction of head coach Bernard Dyer, Easton currently stands at 13-3 and sits at the 10th spot in the LHSAA Division I select power rankings.
While plenty of baseball remains to be played, Dyer, who works for the United States Postal Service, likes the potential of this year’s edition of the Easton baseballers.
It’s being accomplished by the basics.
“Solid pitching and hitting so far,” says Dyer. “The big guys up front have been hitting the ball hard like we expected. We’ve also been putting the ball in play and playing pretty good defense. Our infielders are basically seniors who are interchangeable. The outfielders are mostly juniors and that’s the way we were when we made a pretty good run.”
Dyer, who has been on the job at Easton for seven seasons, feels you should never underestimate the importance of maturity.
“The last time we made a good run we were heavy with seniors. We’ve found we can have a freshman with the same skill set as a senior but physical strength of that 12th-grader is so much different. Both will make contact at the plate but that senior can drive the ball out of the infield or out of the park.”
Senior hurler Jared Whitly has been a mainstay on the mound for the Eagles. Kenjuan Brooks, a junior, has shown promise as he recovers from an injury sustained while playing travel ball last summer in Puerto Rico.
Dyer also plays a part in the football success at Easton as coach of the running backs. The baseball roster consists primarily of football players. He knows baseball is not their sport of choice. However, their presence is needed and appreciated.
“The football players come in and they are used to winning. They are the leaders of the team and the leaders of the school,” Dyer explained. “The problem is by the time they reach their junior year, they have to concentrate on things like recruiting trips and 7-on-7 or a college camp. I can’t be mad at them because football is their ticket. But make no mistake, they are our better athletes.”
The Eagles have managed their successful run despite a lack of resources. Dyer has received donations from former players for essentials like balls. Some of those donations have come courtesy of former players at Edna Karr, where Dyer previously coached.
What they can’t donate is an area large enough for an adequate practice session. Warren Easton practices on the square-block green-area next to the school – sometimes sharing the practice-field with the Easton softball team. The only time spent on a baseball diamond by this squad comes when they actually play a game.
“We just fight through it and work hard,” said Dyer. “We need room to hit we need room to do things and we just don’t have that. We have our ups and downs and we make the best out of it that we can. We just don’t complain and make the best of what we have.”
Perhaps the Warren Easton Eagles could steal a page out of the LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey’s motivational book. After reaching the second round of postseason last year, she set a goal of going deeper into the NCAA Tournament this season. The Lady Tigers have gone all the way to the Final Four.
Assistant coach Eric Soublet believes with a little luck this team could venture into unchartered territory.
“Last year when we made it to the second round of the playoffs, we were a junior-laden squad. Now they are seniors and a year older with experience. Maybe we’ll make history and make it to the next round.”
During Dyer’s seven seasons, the Eagles have reached the second round of post-season twice. Last season, they picked up a playoff win over Carencro before being eliminated by South Lafourche.
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