LaGarde swinging hot stick for Bears

Revue de presse

By Elizabeth Zogalis, Canadian Baseball Network.com, le 24 avril 2014

Sasha Lagarde

Les Quebecois continue to prove themselves on the diamond south of the border, and center fielder Sasha LaGarde, a former LaSalle Cardinal and ABC alumni, has created quite a name for himself playing NCAA Division I baseball in Macon, Ga.

Photo ci-dessus : OF Sasha LaGarde (Montreal, Que.) is having a strong season for the Atlantic Sun Conference-leading Mercer Bears, batting .329 with a team-leading 39 RBIs and .974 OPS.

The 23-year-old, who is in his senior year at Mercer University on scholarship, is currently batting .329 (50-for-152) for the Bears, leading the team in home runs (eight), RBIs (39), OPS (.974), runs (43) and stolen bases (eight).

Not bad numbers for a Montreal kid who only started playing the game at 12 years of age and only decided to take it seriously when he was 16.

“I played hockey and had to make a tough decision on which sport I wanted to commit myself to 100%,” said LaGarde, who has started and played all 41 games for the Bears this season. “Luckily, I chose baseball and have never regretted my decision.”

Thanks to that decision, the outfielder has helped Mercer break some impressive school records.

When LaGarde connected for a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning back on Feb. 25, it propelled Mercer to a 5-4 win over Savannah State and gave the Bears their ninth straight win to start the season, breaking a 44-year-old school record.

“It was surreal because I didn’t know about the record until that day,” LaGarde said. “[But] you can’t get too caught up in breaking records.”
Now, with less than a month left in the season, Mercer sits in first place in the Atlantic Sun conference with a 14-4 conference record and a 31-10 record overall. LaGarde says the Bears’ 2014 success has been a team effort, from both players and coaches alike.

“We understand our roles as individuals and work hard to improve on a daily basis,” LaGarde said.

In his rookie season with the Bears last year, LaGarde batted .308 with a .427 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 68 runs scored.

Before Mercer, the outfielder attended Chipola Junior College on scholarship under coach Jeff Johnson, where he finished his sophomore year with a .307 batting average and a team-leading .449 on-base percentage, 47 runs and 31 walks.

The 23-year-old says he’s enjoyed his time playing Division I baseball, as the level of competition has helped him improve as a ballplayer and hopefully opened doors for him come June.

“The pitching is more consistent, the players are generally stronger, the coaches are more knowledgeable, and the exposure is incredible,” LaGarde said. “My ultimate goal is to get drafted or signed by a major league team.”

The outfielder is currently ranked No. 12 on the Canadian Baseball Network Draft List, and ranks 25th on Perfect Game’s list of top 40 college players in Georgia. But for now, he says his attention is with his Mercer teammates and on competing for a conference championship.

“Pro ball has always been a dream of mine,” LaGarde said, “but right now I’m focused on having a strong finish to the end of the season.”

Revue de presse publiée par Jacques Lanciault.

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