RUSTON, La (KMSS/KTAL) – “They say that less than one percent of high school players go on to continue to play, and so the fact that there are four at the same school, it’s special,” said Byrd baseball Head Coach Gregg Williams. “It really is.”
You may as well call them the Byrd Bulldogs. A quartet of Yellow Jackets, all on the Louisiana Tech roster, at the same time.
“I wouldn’t say we’re just going after Byrd guys, but they’ve been really good for us,” said Louisiana Tech baseball Head Coach Lane Burroughs.
The first to arrive in Ruston came as a package deal, with outfielder Steele Netterville and pitcher Jonathan Fincher.
“Finch had a dream in high school that we were going to play together, and it ended up happening,” said Netterville. “It’s a pretty awesome dream that came to fruition.”
“I texted him in the morning when I woke up and I was like, ‘I just had a dream where we both played college baseball together,'” said Fincher. “I wrote it down on a piece of paper and put it in my dresser so I could look back and remember it.”
But they don’t need that piece of paper to remember it. They’ve lived it for the past five years, making history along the way.
“We put together the most successful season in Louisiana Tech history,” said Fincher. “We got to host a regional. So that was just awesome.”
“Finch has been my best friend since we met,” said Netterville. “I’ve actually spent more time with Finch than anyone else in my life. He’s a super special person to me and truly like a brother.”
But what about Steele’s actual younger brother? Well, he joined him in Ruston four years later.
“It’s been something I’ve always dreamed of, but I’ve never even thought of before,” said Steele. “It’s one of those things that when I realized it was a possibility, I wanted really badly.”
“I had no idea that could’ve happened, but when it did I was super excited I was going to have that chance to be in the same dugout as my brother,” said Slade.
“I know he’s proud to be Steele’s brother, just like Steele’s proud to be Slade’s brother,” said Coach Williams.
“It’s been super special to show him the ropes and be there for him when he has any questions and experience his first year with him,” said Steele.
Just like his older brother, Slade brought his best friend, Jack, with him to Ruston.
“Oh my gosh, I was through the roof excited to come here,” said Jack Walker. “It was a blessing playing with Slade my whole life and being able to continue it to high school and then to the college level.”
“We’ve been playing together since we’ve been eight or nine,” said Slade. “We’ve always been pretty close but now it’s grown into something more.”
Four kids from Shreveport, tied together by their love of baseball. Now, living out their dreams at J.C. Love Field.
“You know when you get a kid from Byrd they’re going to be ready,” said Coach Burroughs. “They’re going to be ready for the baseball part of it, being a student and being out in the community and just being a man.”
“I’m so invested in this place and this place has invested themselves in me,” said Steele. “This community, the coaches and my teammates have done everything to make this the most memorable and unforgettable years of my life. I am forever indebted to this place.”
However, never forgetting the place they got their start.
“It’s the start of the friendship for me and Finch first and foremost,” said Steele.
“It’s the place where I met my best friend, and where I really learned how to become the baseball player I am today,” said Fincher.
“A lot of good memories come from that place,” said Slade. “Making memories with Jack, and all of my teammates.”
“Everything,” said Walker. “Nothing short of everything.”
“It’s a special place and it will always have a special place in my heart,” said Steele Netterville.