The Bengals finished their season with a 57-5 record, the most wins, and the highest winning percentage, in NJCAA Division II history, according to assistant coach Alan Orgain during the Bengals’ end-of-year banquet.
The Bengals had the second highest number of stolen bases in NJCAA Div II World Series history, beaten only by the 2010 LSUE Bengal team, and tied for most shutouts in a World Series with the 2010 Bengals and one other team, Orgain said.
The team set new LSUE records for most wins, least losses, most saves and most strikeouts, and tied for longest winning streak.
But their successes weren’t measured solely on the field. The Bengals had a team grade point average of 3.2, with 17 players having at least a 3.0 GPA, six with at least 3.5, and three with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Coach Jeff Willis said the team has been named the Academic All American Team of the Year for their efforts in the classroom.
Willis said the team set high goals for themselves both in the classroom and on the field, and lived up to every one of them, and he credited much of that success to the leadership of the sophomore class.
“The leadership that came from that group, that was the best we’ve ever had here,” Willis said.
Despite their successes, Willis said it will be many years before anyone can truly judge how good the 2012 Bengal team turned out.
“We’re going to tell how good out team is, when these young men become husbands and fathers, because those are the things that really matter,” he said.
Dalton Herrington was named Most Valuable Defensive Player, Brady Wilson was named Most Valuable Pitcher and Stuart Turner was named Most Valuable Player by their fellow teammates.
The Coaches Award went to Justin Schopp.
Only two players were voted to the All-Region 23 team, something Willis felt was an injustice given the Bengals’ record-setting accomplishments. Those two were Wilson and Herrington.
Turner was named a Golden Glove Catcher for Region 23.
Four players made Academic All-American; Turner, Chad Miller, Schopp and Marc Picciola.
The home run bat, given by volunteer supporter “Mr. Fee” Dupre to the player with the most home runs on the season, went to Herrington, with 10 of the team’s 36 home runs.
Mr. Fee’s MVP bat also went to Turner.
The mood of the banquet was perhaps best summed up by the closing poem written for the occasion by Dr. David Pulling, announcer for the Bengals’ games:
Don’t turn out the lights, Coach.
Let us walk across this green field together,
One last time
Wearing purple and gold.
Side by side,
Arm in arm,
We are teammates.
So let’s walk slow—
Make it last as long as we can.
Leaving will come soon enough.
And leaving will surely last long enough,
As we move on
To green fields somewhere else,
To bright futures yet imagined.
But let the bright future wait until tomorrow.
Tonight, let us hold memories fast
Of wearing our numbers one last time,
Of the field lights outshining the darkness,
Of the flag fluttering high in the center field breeze,
Of walking in cleats on this soft Bermuda carpet,
Of the mingled smell of leather, sweat, and dust,
Of playing this little boys’ game . . .
(And best of all, how sweet!)
Of winning the national championship!
But most of all let us hold memories fast
Of one another.
We are 2012 Louisiana State University Eunice Bengals.
Thanks for leaving on the lights, Coach,
This one last time.