By Lori Lyons, Rougarou Writer
If you’re a true baseball fan you’ve heard of Stan The Man and Will The Thrill. But if you’re a Rougarou fan, you know all about Hutch The Clutch.
Lane Hutchinson the regular third baseman for the Baton Rouge Rougarou, the Texas Collegiate League Team that calls Pete Goldsby Field home. The 21-year-old from Watson prepped at Live Oak High School, where he was an All-District and All-Parish player, earned his team’s Gold Glove Award and was chosen to play in the Louisiana Coaches Association’s All Star Game.
From there, he went to Nicholls State University then transferred to Baton Rouge Community College, where he was a two-time All-Region player. He hit .342 with 50 hits, 17 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 32 runs and 32 RBIs this season. And that’s kind of how he ended up as a Rougarou.
He was on the field hitting with BRCC coach Thomas Simoneaux and Rougarou teammate Elliot Hebert when team owner Ronnie Rantz came out to check out the field.
“I was telling Sim, ‘Hey! I need a summer team to play on. I really want to play for the Rougarou so I can stay in Baton Rouge and be close to my family and spend one more time playing at Goldsby,” Hutchinson said.
After affirming that Hutchinson was serious, Simoneaux made the introductions and the deal was done.
“Ronnie said, ‘If Thomas says you can play, you can play. You’re on the team,’” Hutchinson said. “I was, like, awesome.”
It was a good deal, too, because Simoneaux was right. Hutchinson is hitting .310 with 15 RBIs, 24 runs, eight doubles and one triple, putting him fourth in the league. (League leader Elliot Hebert, who hit .366, has left the team.) Hutch 39 hits, but perhaps none was bigger than the one he got on July 20 that earned him the nickname “Hutch The Clutch.”
The Rougarou had a streak to protect. All summer long, they had not lost a game to the River Monsters from Seguin, Texas. But on that night, the two were locked in a 5-5 tie in the 10th inning and the streak was in jeopardy.
But that’s when Hutchinson came to the plate. With designated runner Reed Eason at second base according to international tie-breaking rules, Hutchinson launched a ball to the base of the center field wall that, at any other time, would have gone for extra bases. This time, it was just a single that was good enough for a walk off 6-5 win and gave Hutchinson his new nickname.
“Getting that walk off was pretty fun,” Hutchinson said. “My family was there watching it and my dad got to get the ball after the game.”
Rougarou coach Wes Theriot said Hutchinson has been a great asset to the team.
“Lane is one of those guys that just finds a way to help the team win games,” said Rougarou coach Wes Theriot. “He can steal a base for you, has played a solid shortstop and third base, and has been a consistent middle of the lineup bat. He’s just a solid all-around player and teammate that is a tremendous asset to any team.”
But more than that, Theriot said, Hutchinson is a fan favorite.
“What sticks out to me most about Lane is his interaction with kids at games,” Theriot said. “Both at home and on the road, Lane always finds the time to give a kid a ball or sign an autograph. He’s a great example of the type of guy we want representing the Rougarou.”
Hutchinson said the summer has been a blast for him. Next he will be taking his talents (and his personality) to the University of Texas at Tyler in the fall.
“It’s probably been one of the most fun summers I’ve ever had playing baseball,” he said. “It’s a learning experience. Sometimes the ball bounces your way but sometimes it doesn’t and that’s just baseball.”
The Rougarou will close out the regular season this weekend with games against the Acadiana Cane Cutters. The team plays Saturday at Fabacher Field in Youngsville before returning home for the regular season finale Sunday night at 7 p.m. at Pete Goldsby Field. Texas Collegiate League playoffs begin Tuesday, Aug. 2, with the Rougarou playing at home.