Andrew Stevenson Continues To Make Lafayette Area Proud As LSU Tigers Reach College World Series
Andrew Stevenson is no stranger to success and playing on the big stage. And people in the Hub City and surrounding areas have plenty of memories to prove it!
The now-LSU Tiger shined brightly to the nation, and even the world, as a Lafayette Little Leaguer in 2005 at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I remember the excitement he and those other young baseball players brought to us as they became known as the "Cardiac Cajuns" and the "comeback kids" for their desire to never give up, even when it looked like they were completely out of a game.
The Lafayette Little League team had made it to the World Series after winning the Southwest Regional Championship, going through numerous area, state and out-of-state teams to get there. The team's will was put to the test in the first game against Westbrook, Maine. They overcame a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning to win 3-2, with Connor Toups driving in the winning run.
But surely they couldn't do it again, right? Wrong! And here is where Stevenson really made the area proud!
Down 8-1 against Owensboro (Ky.) Southern, the Lafayette Little Leaguers rallied and overcame that 7-run deficit, ultimately breaking an 8-8 tie in the sixth inning. And who scored the winning run? You guessed it: Andrew Stevenson.
Using his speed, Stevenson was able to take a bunt single with two outs and turn it into the game-winning run, scoring off of a throwing error from third base. The team eventually lost to a tough California team and finished as quarterfinalists, proving that Lafayette and the state of Louisiana could play with the best in the nation.
From there, Stevenson went on to star at St. Thomas More, and not just as a baseball player. The Youngsville native was named to the All-District and All-Acadiana teams in both baseball and football, as a wide receiver. As a Cougar baseball player, in addition to being named the district MVP, he also made the 2012 Louisville Slugger High School All-American and Baseball America All-American teams, hitting .546 as a senior with 11 doubles, five triples, one homer and 20 RBIs.
STM is also the school where Stevenson's mother teaches and a 16-year-old boy who looks up to Andrew attends. Matt Stevenson is Andrew's younger brother, and they have an intimate bond. “He brightens my day up any time I see him. [He’s] always got a smile on,” Andrew said. “I like seeing that whenever I’m out here (on the baseball field).”
Following in his brother's footsteps, Matt has also become known for not giving up, in this case against an obstacle of even greater difficulties. Matt was born with Down syndrome, something the family had "no clue (about) until he was born." But Andrew, only two years older than Matt, stepped up in a big way, even at a young age, helping the family "deal with it" by "treat(ing) him like a regular brother." Matt later went on to play for a team that made it to Williamsport as well - in the Challenger League for special needs children.
Now, Andrew, a freshman kinesiology major at LSU, gets ready as his Tigers take on the UCLA Bruins Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. in Omaha, Nebraska, in the NCAA College World Series. The outfielder chose to attend LSU because "I wanted to be part of a winning tradition and have an opportunity to win a national championship," an opportunity that has now blossomed into being only a few games away from winning that coveted title. In his LSU sports bio, he is described as a "very hard-nosed player who hustles everywhere and plays the game with great intensity and passion."
Don't be surprised if you see him using that "intensity and passion" to come up big again, on the big stage once again, in another Louisiana baseball success story.
(Many thanks to Lafayette Little League Board Member Michael Russo for providing me with lots of content, littleleague.org, lsureveille.com, lsusports.net, and usatoday.com.)