Alexandria Senior High wanted a baseball coach with experience and ties to Central Louisiana.
It hit a home run on both of its goals with its new hire.
Former Tioga assistant James Halle was named as the Trojans’ new coach Thursday, replacing Joey Lee, who left for St. Frederick in June.
“I am feeling good about being the new coach at ASH,” Halle said. “This is a program with a great tradition and I’m glad I have the opportunity to coach here. Our goal is to hopefully play in Sulphur.”
Halle played at Pineville from 1999-2002 and then pitched at Louisiana College from 2003-2006. With the Wildcats, he earned All-American Southwest Conference honors.
With that background, he hopes to build the Trojans around pitching and defense.
“Most of the teams that make the College World Series rely on pitching and defense and that’s what I want to do here,” Halle said. “Some years, we may not have either, but we’ll still have to find ways to ways to win.”
After his playing career, Halle became an assistant at LC, Brusly and Denham Springs before arriving at Tioga for the previous two seasons. He helped the Indians reach the Class 4A state tournament in May and assisted the Panthers to a Class 3A runner-up finish in 2010.
“We lost a good coach in Joey Lee, but we obtained a good one in Coach Halle,” ASH principal Duane Urbina said. “He’s had great experience by learning under good coaches such as Mike Byrnes and Dave Montiel. Since we’re in 5A, we wanted to find a quality coach and I believe we did just that.”
The Trojans made the Class 5A playoffs and finished 17-17 last season after losing a talented senior class in 2014. That year, ASH went 29-10 that year and fell in the 5A quarterfinals to Jesuit.
The Trojans will have senior pitcher Matthew Beck as their ace for the 2016 season. Beck fanned 90 batters in 60 innings and recorded a 3.15 ERA, while batting .400 with five home runs and 35 RBI.
“We are excited to have him here,” Urbina said.