BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – It’s safe to say Cade Doughty made the most of his opportunity playing in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League this summer.
While he didn’t call it making up for the portion of the freshman season he lost at LSU as part of the novel coronavirus pandemic, he said it didn’t hurt, either.
“I think to a little bit of an extent …” Doughty, a former Denham Springs High standout, said. “Obviously, it’s a different team, different players and stuff, but I think it definitely helped me out, and I’m just very thankful that I was able to join a team and get the reps that I needed.”
It didn’t take long for Doughty to settle in at LSU as he hit a home run in his first at-bat with the Tigers as part of an 8-1 win over Indiana. He finished the season hitting .278 with two home runs, a double, 12 RBIs and four stolen bases in 15 games.
“I think after that, I shied off a little bit, kind of got a little cold, but I think during the end of the season, I was just getting super comfortable, starting to figure out things and really starting to contribute to the team, which is the goal,” Doughty said. “I think overall it was a good first half-season, or whatever you want to call it. Hopefully this sophomore year is going to be a lot better, and I’ll just contribute to the team.”
The novel coronavirus cut the college season short, and Doughty’s summer season also became a question mark when the Cape Cod League, which he was originally set to play in, announced it wouldn’t be holding a season because of the pandemic.
“It was definitely a lot of confusion,” Doughty said. “Everybody was just confused and not really sure what’s going to happen. I’m just grateful that (LSU assistant) Coach Eddie Smith was able to get me in the league. At the time, we didn’t really know if the summer ball was going to happen. I’m just grateful I was able to get some reps down in South Florida.”
“I think right before the call, Eddie asked me if I was willing to go down to a different league, and I was just like, ‘heck yeah, man!’ Any opportunity I have, I’d love to just be back in the box again playing the game,” Doughty continued. “I was super excited, super thankful and I’m just grateful that I was able to have that opportunity.”
Doughty and LSU teammate Collier Cranford wound up with the Boca Raton Blazers, where Doughty finished third in the league with a .429 batting average, including nine doubles, three home runs and 17 RBIs.
“I think just getting all these reps,” Doughty said. “I was trying to figure some things out mechanically. I was just thankful that I was able to be down there. I was seeing the ball well, so hopefully I can turn that over into the fall and help the team.”
Doughty said one of the things he worked on at the plate in the summer league was improving at driving the ball to all fields.
“That was a big part of my game in the short season we had was being able to contribute and drive the ball to the opposite field, so I think being able to get 91 (at-bats) is huge, and having to spray the ball all over the field was definitely a big thing of mine this summer,” Doughty said.
As an added bonus, Doughty was selected to the SFCBL All-Star Game in late July, earning a start at second base.
“Obviously, that’s my goal going into any summer ball league, just trying to better my game and help the team out when I come back for the fall,” Doughty said. “Obviously, I was super excited. It was awesome to be able to do that and represent the Boca Blazers and ultimately get the start at second base, which was a huge honor.”
“I’d say talent-wise it was equivalent to last summer in the Cal Ripken League,” Doughty continued. “You had a bunch of great players down there just trying to work on their craft as well. It’s summer ball, so you have some really good talent, and some no-so-good talent, but I was just thankful not taking any at-bat for granted and just trying work on my craft.”
The goal for Doughty now is to carry some of the momentum from this summer’s effort into the fall and beyond at LSU.
“I was definitely feeling good, comfortable,” Doughty said. “I’m just kind of looking forward to the fall. Hopefully I can bring over some of those hits to the fall. That’s what matters.”
Even though he’s got a season of college baseball under his belt, Doughty isn’t taking anything for granted moving forward.
“Coming in as a freshman, I’m trying to make an impact and ultimately help my team win,” Doughty said of last season. “I was privileged enough and thankful that (LSU baseball) Coach (Paul) Manieri trusted me just coming in as a freshman to give me that starting role, but ultimately it’s a new year. I’m going to have to earn my spot back and hopefully just continue to get better and just help out any way I can wherever that may be. I’m just thankful Coach Mainieri trusts me in that position.”
“I’m definitely not going in satisfied with my last 16 games,” Doughty continued. “I’m just hungry and ultimately just going to try to help the team out. Hopefully we’ll just win some games and make a run for it.”
By: Rob DeArmond | The News