They have been best of friends since they were young lads entering grade school. They have played side by side in youth leagues and in high school. They even sit by each other in church. They are so tight you could even go so far as to say they are “brothers by other mothers” using current jargon. It is only fitting then that now Luke Morgan and Joshua Smith of Quitman High School, celebrate the end of their 2021 baseball season by being named to the All-Region team by the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association (LBCA).
The battery mates are completely opposite in appearance. Smith represents one of the tallest pitchers in the state and Morgan one of the shortest catcher’s but their stats stand equal to any on the elite, 25 man team made up of players whose coaches are members of the LBCA – Region 2. That represent eleven parishes across north central Louisiana including: Claiborne, Union, Lincoln, Jackson, Ouachita, Bienville, LaSalle, Red River, Winn, Grant and Natchitoches parishes.
Morgan led Quitman with a .500 batting average (40/80) and was among the Class B leaders with 40 runs scored and 41 stolen bases. He also registered an impressive .646 on base percentage (OBP) after drawing 33 free passes from his leadoff spot in the batting order. Perhaps the best statistic that proved his keen eye at the plate, was that he got hit by a pitch 12 times which is also the number of times he struck out in 113 plate appearances. At one point during a ten game hitting streak Morgan led Class B with a .568 batting average and in the Class B playoffs batted .667 with four hits in six at bats. Fourteen times he collected multiple hits in a contest.
Although his 6-5 record on the mound seemingly belies the fact, Smith was one of the more dominant pitchers in north Louisiana. Among his victories was a 13K, one hit, shut out over District 1-2A champion D’Arbonne Woods and complete game shutout over district 2B rival Weston. His best outing of the year which ranks as one of the most impressive performances of any high school pitcher in 2021was his herculean, ten-inning effort where he threw only an incredible 112 pitches to lead Quitman to 1-0 regional playoff round victory over Doyline. His five losses were twice to Class A state champ Oak Grove, once to Class B state champ Choudrant, District 3-1A champion St. Mary’s of Natchitoches and Class B runner-up Elizabeth.