By T. Scott Boatright
He’s by no means Lincoln Parish’s Lone Ranger, but more of a Lone Rover.
Rover as a baseball utility player.
Choudrant High Senior Landon Hennen is the only player from Lincoln Parish selected to play in the Louisiana High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game as announced Thursday afternoon by the LHSCA.
Hennen has been a key player for the Aggies since he was a freshman outfielder, but that was the 2020 season that ended not long after getting started due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But since then he’s been a Choudrant starter, be it on the mound, in the outfield, at shortstop or pretty much any position he’s been asked to play.
“As a sophomore he was out there bouncing around at multiple positions and especially in the outfield,” said first-year CHS head coach Joel Antley, who was an assistant coach for the Aggies during Hennen’s first three seasons. “Now he splits time at shortstop and pitcher with Bryce McGuire.
“Second base is probably his best spot and he plays that when either Eli (Callender) or Colton (Smith) pitches. Then we put Bryce at short and Landon at second.”
Antley said that it’s Hennen’s versatility that makes him such a key player for the team.
“It means the world to know you have a guy that in Landon’s case you could put literally anywhere on the field,” Antley said. “He’s played first base. He caught when he was younger and if the need ever comes up I wouldn’t hesitate in putting him at any position on the field. He can play any position on the field and do it well.”
Hennen said it doesn’t matter where he plays as long as he’s on the field.
“I just feel blessed whenever I’m out there able to play wherever they need me,” Hennen said. “I used to be a catcher when I was young and growing up one day my summer league team needed a pitcher, so they told me to take off the gear and go out there and pitch.
“So I started pitching in junior high and just kind of found my groove,”
Hennen’s sister Olivia was an All-State catcher for the Lady Aggies softball team who went on to become a two-year starter for the LSU-Eunice softball team before taking off the gear to focus on her nursing degree at Louisiana Tech.
“I actually started catching before her,” Hennen said. “I was in eighth grade when she was a senior. It’s always been competitive between us. All the teachers around school have always said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to do what your sister did.
“It’s always been fun trying to one-up each other I guess.”
A .390 batter, Hennen isn’t necessarily a power hitter but is a hard hitter who uses his speed to its best advantage.
“He’s a great hitter and because of that speed, he gets a lot of doubles under his belt,” Antley said. “He steals a lot of bases, too. He can pretty much do whatever you need him to do.”
Hennen also serves in a leadership role for the two-time defending state champions.
“He’s one of four seniors and they’re a whole as a group,” Antley said. “It was that way last season, too. He’s pretty vocal as a leader, especially with the younger guys, but not in a negative way. He’s always talking to them and giving them tips – giving them tips that’s learned be it tips or just the way to think about the game. He passes on a lot of knowledge to those younger guys.”
A straight “A” student throughout his high school years, Hennen on Thursday officially committed to begin his college career at National Park College in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
“I’m going the JUCO route – I made my decision (Thursday) afternoon that I’m going to National Park (Junior) College in Hot Springs,” Hennen said. “The plan is to go somewhere smaller and grow a little more as a player before trying to move on to bigger-college ball.”
The 2023 LSHCA/Louisiana Baseball Coaches All-Star Game is set for May 19-20 at Louisiana Christian University in Pineville.
“I was actually on the All-Star selection committee,” Antley said. “We put him in the outfield because they needed another outfielder for the East team and he can do it all.
“Initially we had him in the infield, but after talking to the other coaches we filled that outfield hole with him. The coaches will decide where to put him when that game weekend comes around.”