Berwick High School baseball team
(The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Berwick High School baseball's state championship ring (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Berwick High baseball team receives state title rings
The Berwick High School baseball team capped its state championship celebration Friday as the team received its rings during a ceremony at the Berwick Civic Complex.
Rings were distributed to the 27-member team along with athletic trainer Jessica Robinson. The rings featured the team’s “B” logo on top with the words “STATE CHAMPIONS,” while on one side was the team’s slogan “Do Right” along with a Panther jumping out of the state of Louisiana. On the other side is the team member’s name and their number.
This past spring Berwick won its first state baseball title in 40 years, defeating Iota 7-2 in the Class 3A title game.
Coach Brandon Bravata, who entered his first season this spring, had to replace the team’s top three pitchers and much of the lineup from the team’s 2017 state semifinalist squad.
Among those recognized during Bravata’s speech was former Berwick High School baseball coach John Menard, who Bravata served as an assistant for in 2017.
“Coach, we wouldn’t be standing here today without you and the 2017 seniors, who got us on the right path,” Bravata told Menard.
As for the ring, Bravata said it is a symbol of the Panther players’ contributions to the season.
“You may wear this ring a dozen times or you may wear it a thousand, and you may put it away,” Bravata said. “There will be times when you’ll wake up in the morning or at night in a cold sweat and go check and see if you still have it where you left it, because of what it means to you, not what it looks like.”
Bravata said a key turning point in the season was the squad’s run-rule loss to Morgan City in the season opener.
“We played awful,” Bravata said. “People after the game were asking if the coach was tough enough on the players, and the players would get told at school that they weren’t very good. We challenged the players to stay the course, believe in what we were doing. We asked them to trust the process.”
Berwick senior shortstop/pitcher Kyle Pitre said when showing the ring to family in the future, he would tell them about the story of the 2018 season.
“We’re all like a family,” said Pitre, who will continue his baseball career at Baton Rouge Community College. “That’s what got us this ring. We all had each other’s back. You can always count on the next person.”
Bravata said one of his favorite moments was a lesson the coaching staff taught the team after he said they “absolutely choked the lead away and folded under pressure” in the team’s regular-season finale against eventual Division IV state champion Ascension Catholic.
“We, as coaches, took the opportunity to ask you to change how you handled adversity. We came up with the phrase ‘so what?’. This lesson was no more evident than when we were down early in game one against Eunice,” Bravata said of the quarterfinal series. “The kids came storming off the field after a rough first inning yelling ‘so what!’. I knew from that moment that this team had it.”
Senior catcher Lucas Hatch said that getting the ring this year completed a goal the Panthers were unable to achieve in 2017, falling in the state semifinals.
“Last year, our goal was to be a state champion, but we fell short, but we weren’t going to let that stop us this year,” Hatch said. “We knew we had unfinished business to take care of.”