Fallout following Barbe vs. West Monroe Championship game

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Saturday’s Non-Select Division I State Championship game between Barbe and West Monroe was one that had been nearly a year in the making.

Barbe has now won three of the last four State Championships - but the one that got away was captured by West Monroe. Barbe beat West Monroe 5-0 to win the 2021 title, but the Rebels won the championship in 2022 after St. Amant knocked out Barbe in the quarterfinals. Some, apparently, called the championship a fluke because West Monroe didn’t have to face Barbe in the playoffs, but Barbe Head Coach Glenn Cecchini said the suggestion of a fluke didn’t come from Barbe.

With a history between the two powerhouse programs, the Rebels entered this year’s playoffs as the top overall seed in the Non-Select Division I bracket, while Barbe secured the No. 2 seed.

In the Semi-Finals, West Monroe mounted a comeback in the seventh inning against Sam Houston, as they entered the final inning down 3-1, but went on to win 4-3. Barbe handled Sulphur with ease, beating the Golden Tors 5-1 behind an impressive performance from Landon Victorian on the mound, and with it, the stage was set for a State Championship game between the now 12-time state champion Barbe Buccaneers, and the reigning state champion West Monroe Rebels.

The anticipation for Saturday’s State Championship game heightened on Friday when West Monroe head coach Wade Simoneaux went on ‘The Morning Drive with Aaron and Jake’ to discuss Saturday’s matchup.

“Everyone can hype up Barbe, but to be honest with you, that’s who we wanted,” said Simoneaux. “They’re hated because Cecchini won about 95 State Championships down there, and their hatred is I guess earned.”

The buildup continued when Simoneaux wrote “Ourselves” on the opponent line of their lineup card ahead of Saturday’s State Championship, which was given to the Barbe coaching staff.

Cecchini and the rest of the Barbe coaching staff took the “Ourselves” comment as disrespect, but as Coach Simoneaux said on ‘The Morning Drive with Aaron and Jake’ on Tuesday, the Rebels had written this on each lineup card in the postseason.

“I actually sent Glenn (Cecchini), after he called to apologize, I sent him our last six lineups through Fontainebleau, St. Amant, Sam Houston, and their lineup, with every one of them having ‘ourselves’ up at the top,” Simoneaux said. “It’s something we use with our kids, to not worry about the opponent in the other dugout, and play the game for seven innings.”

After the game, which Barbe won 10-4 following a nine-run seventh inning, Cecchini and Simoneaux had an exchange on the field, which coach Cecchini discussed with KPLC following the win.

“I respect them, this is a great day, I respect them completely,” Cecchini said. “Wade Simoneaux is a great coach, I’ve known Wade for 30 years, he’s just trying to fire up his team, and after the game, I probably shouldn’t have said anything to him really, but you know, I’m a competitor man, so I’m going to say what I’m going to say, but, they won it, they’re the State Champions, last year, and they won it, and we would never try to take away that from anyone.”

After the game ended, Barbe fans and parents had some fun with Simoneaux’s interview from Friday, and the situation appeared to be over, that is until Simoneaux went back on ‘The Morning Drive with Aaron and Jake’ on Tuesday morning to further discuss the game, and the events that followed the game.

The interview began with a clip from KPLC’s interview with coach Cecchini following Saturday’s game where Cecchini said “He’s a great coach, he’s trying to fire his guys up, but you know, I showed all of our kids, and I told him (Simoneaux) thanks for the motivation, you know, because on opponent it said ‘Ourselves’, and I hear what he’s saying, the greatest enemy is yourself, you always have to be the best you can be, but I’ve never seen that in 37 years where it says opponent and someone writes ourselves. So I said thanks for the motivation. I showed our kids, and you know, they (West Monroe) came close, they were three outs away, but that’s why we play seven innings, that’s what is so beautiful about the game of baseball, there’s no time limit in the State Championship game, you’ve got to get 21 outs.”

Simoneaux responded to the clip by saying “I heard that clip, what a whacko.”

During the interview, which lasted about 14 minutes, Simoneaux said that Barbe’s Glenn Cecchini called to apologize about what had transpired following Saturday’s State Championship game, but also went on to say the following:

“Instead of just taking his victory, you know, the old American Legion saying ‘Keep a sound heart in defeat, keep a sound soul, clean mind, healthy body, and pride under in victory’, they can’t do that and he had to smear it right in our face, and it’s something we took personally. Like I told Fox on his show yesterday, I wanted to punch him in his throat, I really did, but I didn’t want to represent West Monroe that way.”

“If Barbe’s lucky enough to make it back, we’ll be waiting on them next year at the end.”

KPLC reached out to Barbe head coach Glenn Cecchini to discuss Simoneaux’s Tuesday morning interview, but Cecchini declined, saying he wanted to leave the situation in the past and move on.