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Cantrelle embraces leadership role for Cajuns baseball

Beyond The Jersey

Cajuns shortstop Hayden Cantrelle didn’t waste any time to hit a home run this season, as he homered against Louisiana Tech on Saturday night. The junior enters this season as one of the top MLB prospects in the country. After finishing last year as a first team All Sun Belt selection, Cantrelle is embracing this new season, with a new coach and added pressure surrounding the MLB draft. 

“I like to think throughout my entire life, I’ve been put in pressure situations,” Cantrelle says. “Yeah, there’s a different atmosphere and a different feel with Coach Deggs now, but things aren’t that much different to be honest with you. All my personal goals are in line with everything I have been doing throughout my college career as well.”

The Teurlings Catholic alum spent the past two summers competing in college baseball’s most premier summer league in Cape Cod. Cantrelle average .315 at the plate, finishing the summer with 41 hits, 14 RBIs, and 3 home runs. 

Despite the success, Cantrelle says those two seasons taught him how to deal with failure. 

“Going through those two summers, it taught me a lot about myself and how to handle failure,” Cantrelle says. “Given that fact, I’ve worked with the processes of failing long-term. Understanding how to fail is how you open up new doors for success.”

Success is undoubtedly in the Lafayette native’s future, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 55th best prospect in the 2020 Draft. 

But Cantrelle isn’t focused on June just yet. 

“The worst thing that could happen for me is not being focused on my craft,” Cantrelle says. “Just keeping that lens on things keeps me going in the right direction.”

Gaining a wealth of experience in just two seasons, Cantrelle is seen as a leader on and off the diamond.  

“For the most part, I feel like I’m continuing to fulfill a role that was just set by the older guys,” Cantrelle says. “I’m coming into a junior year as an upperclassman as you say, so there are more leadership opportunities giving that I do have two years under my belt. There are more younger guys on our team. This group that we have is a very mature group. I still don’t feel that old, so to say.”

Cantrelle and the rest of the Ragin’ Cajuns will be back in action at Southeastern this Tuesday, then back home at Russo Park to host Tulane on Wednesday.

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