When you focus attention on Delgado baseball, you focus on consistent excellence.
That has been the case since legendary coach Rags Scheuermann got the program rolling before turning his program over to his son.
Joe Scheuermann has taken the program to an even higher level.
Entering his 33rd year on the job, Scheuermann is the longest tenured coach in Louisiana.
Already inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Scheuermann has guided his Dolphins to 1,091 victories with the milestone of 1,100 sure to occur in 2023, perhaps early in the season.
Scheuermann has led Delgado to 15 conference titles and a host of super regional appearances. Scheuermann has guided the Dolphins to World Series appearances four times. (2007, 2014, 2015, 2016).
In 2022, Delgado went 34-13, won Region XXIII and came up one game short of the junior college World Series, falling in the final game of the South Central Regional in New Orleans to Crowder College. Delgado wins 30 or more games annually.
Once again, the Dolphins will feature heavy local flavor this season, with 24 players from Louisiana.
Delgado enters the 2023 season ranked 16th in the nation in the National Junior College Coaches Association poll.
The Dolphins have a host of experience returning in the field, including outfielders Bryan Broussard (.333, 1 HR, 29 RBI) and Josh Alexander (.331, 7 HR, 33 RBI) leading the way, along with catcher JT Singletary (. 310, 9 HR, 55 RBI). Infielder Cade Pregeant (.330, 10 RBI) and outfielders Hayden Kibbe and Davis Stephens (.300, 2 HR, 5 RBI) saw significant playing time last season and Logan Bertucci, Tyler Cook and Jake Kaufman were contributors as well.
What appears to be the strength of the Dolphins resides on the mound, where a combination of experience and power leads the way.
Hard throwing right-hander Chris Olivier is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and will provide a huge boost to the staff. Olivier is a University of New Orleans signee.
Hard-throwing sophomore Cory Cook (5-0, 2.81 ERA) is back as well.
Closer Kaile Levatino (6-3, 5 saves) is back to anchor the back of the bullpen.
Other experienced arms returning include Carson Lore, Joshua MacCord, Tyler Velino and left-handers Turner Toms and Caleb Dreux.
“Getting Olivier back is a huge key and boost to our staff,” Scheuermann said. “The fact that we can have some depth on the mound is huge at any level, especially at the junior college level because you are playing doubleheaders. I think we have enough. Singletary is the key. He is not only a great catcher, but he can hit big in the middle of our lineup. Broussard and Alexander have both signed with the University of Louisiana. We’ve got talent there.”
Key newcomers for Delgado include a talented two-way player in Logan O’Neill of John Curtis Christian and outfielder Walker Bazile of Brother Martin. Outfielder Cole Stromboe arrives from ULM, as does infielder Giovanni Licciardi. Freshman pitcher Josh Pierce of South Lafourche could make an impact.
The Dolphins suffered a key loss when starting shortstop Christian Westcott, who could have also contributed as a pitcher, was injured in an automobile accident recently and will most, if not all of the season.
“That will be our huge question mark,” Scheuermann said. “Westcott was really good in the fall. He broke his femur so it’s pretty likely that he is out most of the year.”
Scheuermann is high on his new players.
“We have experience, but every junior college is in the same boat as us in the aftermath of COVID,” Scheuermann said. “It is a plus and the fact that we can play in the fall is a plus. Our freshmen got 20 games of action. We’re very excited about our young talent. O’Neill was the Most Valuable Player in the city last season. Bazile was one of the top players in the Catholic League as well. We got the Most Valuable Player from South Terrebonne in Pierce. We’re excited about what our future holds.”
The season opens with four games in the Panama City Beach Invitational in Florida with the opener against Meridian Community College Feb. 3. There are 22 home games, including matchups with Region 23 rivals Baton Rouge Community College and Nunez Community College. The Dolphins will entertain perennial Division II power LSU-Eunice for three games as well.
“We ran up against a second-round draft pick in Jacob Misiorowski and against Nate Ackenhausen of LSU and that talent speaks for itself,” Scheuermann said. “I think the biggest thing people don’t realize is the caliber of ball played at the junior college level. You see it every day when you play our games. It’s pretty good baseball. The fact that we’re talented is one thing, but are we talented enough? That is the big question.”
The home opener is a doubleheader on February 11 against Pensacola State College at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
“Our expectations are always high,” Scheuermann said. “That is the program and the culture here.”