BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – Former Denham Springs High standout Cade Doughty had to pause and let out an ear-to-ear grin.
With No. 11 LSU set to host Indiana in a season-opening three-game series, beginning at 7 p.m. Feb. 14, Doughty finds himself in the conversation to be the Tigers starting second baseman.
So, when’s the last time Doughty wasn’t penciled into the starting lineup of a team at any level in his career?
“I’m not sure,” he said, looking skyward with a big smile, trying to find an answer.
This a great time in the life of Doughty, who enjoyed a stellar high school career while at Denham Springs High School, where was twice the Livingston Parish MVP and three times a Class 5A All-State selection.
He was rated among the state 50 seniors in the country by several national publications and was certainly talented enough to sign a Major League Baseball contract.
However, that wasn’t the path Doughty wanted to take. He had LSU purple and gold pumping through his veins, part of the DNA handed down from his father – former LSU catcher Richard Doughty – and continued throughout his childhood.
When LSU offered a scholarship before his sophomore year in high school, Doughty jumped on board with his commitment.
Doughty signed during the NCAA’s earning signing period last November and before it became time to consider any serious overtures once the draft began, he told MLB that by driving his asking price so high, he was bound for Baton Rouge.
“It’s definitely something I’ve looked forward to my whole life,” said Doughty, who was still drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 39th round. “I dreamed about playing here since I was a little kid. It’s going to be a crazy day, something that me and my family are looking forward to whether I’m in the (starting) lineup or not.”
Veteran LSU coach Paul Mainieri was certainly happy to have another Doughty in his program, where Cade joined his older brother – junior catcher Braden Doughty – on the 2020 team.
“Cade has a great chance to be a special player at LSU along the likes of many great ones that came before him,” Mainieri said. “He has the tools to be an all-around player in every phase of the game – on defense, with the bat, and running the bases. He clearly was one of the best players in the country in this recruiting year.
“He could have made himself available in the MLB Draft and been taken very early, but instead chose to make himself virtually unsignable because he wanted to play at LSU like his brother, Braden, and his father,” Mainieri said. “He is a hard-nosed player with a high level of competitiveness and grit. He made the All-Star team this past summer in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League as a graduated high school senior, which is very rare. His power is continuing to develop and combines with outstanding bat control skills. I believe he will develop into one of the best players in the SEC as time goes on.”
Doughty, a long-time shortstop in high school, began the fall at third base before shifting to second base where he’s been in a battle with sophomore Gavin Dugas, who happens to be a personal friend.
Mainieri said during LSU’s media day that he implored Doughty to work on his defense, to which he’s adhered to his coach’s wishes.
“I have to polish up my defense, that’s probably my main thing right now and coach Mainieri’s been helping me out a lot,” Doughty said. “I’m putting my nose down and trying to improve on that. I’m getting a lot more comfortable and really learning the position. It’s something that I’ve got to get used to. I’m looking forward to it, hoping to contribute in any way I can.
“I’m actually competing with a really good friend,” Doughty said. “Either way, we’re pulling for each other, If he’s the guy’s, that’s awesome. If I’m the guy, that’s awesome. We’re both going to keep working hard and continue our friendship and keep making each other better.”
Braden Doughty said he’s offered the following advice to his younger brother.
“I grew up with Cade and I know he’s going to fight as hard as he can and do everything he can,” Braden Doughty said. “That’s what I’ve encouraged him to do and just see what happens. I’ve told him to give it all he’s got and trust his ability.”
Cade Doughty said there’s been subtle changes in his transition to second base, something he’s trying to adapt to each day in practice and trying to develop enough consistency to nail down the starting position.
Regardless, whether he begins his college career in the starting lineup or is asked to come off the bench in some capacity, this is a moment Doughty’s looked forward to for the better part of his life and maintains a team-first outlook.
When he recently adjusted his No. 4 jersey before going to take infield, Doughty realized it was the uniform he’s always wanted to wear.
“It’s a dream come true, it’s awesome,” he said. “I’ve been looking forward to this my whole life. At the end of the day it’s the game I’ve been playing my whole life. I have to cancel the noise and just focus on the one pitch, one play and take it real slow. I know who I’m playing for and what it means to this state.”