Benton’s Jordan Shaffer and Andrew Cole shared the same goal as the rest of their Tigers’ teammates this season — make a deep run in the Class 4A state playoffs.
Benton did make a deep run, reaching the state semifiinals.
As part of the reward, Shaffer and Cole have been named to the Class 4A All-State baseball team, as selected by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
“You set goals at the beginning of the year to go deep in the playoffs,” said Shaffer, a junior utility selection after going 8-2 with three saves on the mound, while batting .422 with 37 RBIs.
“As an extra you make All-State with your catcher, it’s pretty amazing.”
Shaffer’s versatility helped him earn a spot on the team, which came shortly after he shared District 1-4A Player of the Year honors with Minden’s Turner Francis, an honorable mention All-State selection.
Shaffer said his offensive production was the more impressive part of his season.
“Last year, (I) was so down (offensively),” Shaffer said. “Pitching is sort of natural for me. Hitting, I’ve had to work more.
“I tweaked some things toward the middle of the year, and it helped tremendously.”
Shaffer and the rest of the Benton staff had a solid backstop to throw to in Cole, The Times’ All-City Player of the Year, who batted .438 with four home runs out of the leadoff spot.
Cole, a senior who has signed with Southeastern Louisiana, called pitches for the Tigers in his first season as a catcher, helping build a bond between himself and the Tigers pitching staff, which featured two All-City picks.
“We’ve been through a lot of stuff together,” Cole said of his relationship with Shaffer. “We’ve played together since about the seventh grade. It feels good to have a buddy on the team.”