Covenant Christian Academy baseball coach Joe Teuton III has been one proud dad this season.
His son, J.T. Teuton, is a rising sophomore at Covenant Christian and has made key plays as a batter and first baseman. He has a .333 batting average, 11 hits, 21 RBIs, five doubles and one home run. He played as an eighth grader and became a starter during his freshman year.
Joe, a longtime area baseball coach and leader of the Southland Hogs travel organization, said he remembers when J.T. would follow him around as a little kid in the team’s dugout at games.
Now, J.T. has emerged as a key contributor for the Lions.
“It’s really exciting as a parent and even more exciting as a coach to see him play well,” Joe said. “We always knew it was there. It just took time and maturity. I think he’s embraced his role this year. He’s been in this program long enough. He’s been working for this his whole life.
“As a dad, I’m very fortunate I get to watch this on the inside of the fence. I’m very proud. I’m just happy to have him part of our program.”
J.T. said he enjoys playing for his dad and cherishes their conversations about the game.
“He’s told me to play with confidence, be yourself and just play hard,” J.T. said. “I’ve taken his advice since I was a kid and just went from there. When I slack off, he’s always on me, sometimes even more than the other players. I can handle it.”
Joe said he wants all of his players to strive for excellence, including his son.
“It has to be hard to be my kid in this program,” Joe said. “He probably takes a little more heat than anybody else. It’s just expected. He’s been used to that since he was in the seventh grade. When things go bad, he feels the wrath of me. Off the field, when we ride home together, we talk about baseball. He understands what comes with being a coach’s son.”
Joe, a former Delgado Community College (New Orleans) player, said J.T. has done a great job continuing the family’s rich legacy in baseball.
Joe’s father, Joe “Big Joe” Teuton Jr., started the Southland Dodge car dealership in 1968 in Houma. Big Joe was also a diehard baseball fan who funded the Southland Hogs travel team, which has sent hundreds of players from the Bayou Region on to the college level.
Big Joe died at age 75 in 2016.
“My dad was a baseball junkie,” said Joe, who held the nickname “Little Joe” after his father. “He’s like what I am. I think he would be real proud of what we’ve established here as a program and just what J.T. has done. I wish he could see J.T. today. I know he would be pumped. He loved baseball and all the kids and relationships and friends we have made through baseball.”
J.T. said he had a close bond with his grandfather.
“He constantly brought me to Delgado baseball games as a kid,” J.T. said. “Just talking baseball with him was fun. I do miss him a lot. It was a tough time after he passed. I know he had high hopes just for me in general. I just want to make him proud.”
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J.T. said Covenant Christian (8-4 overall) wants to continue having success in baseball this season.
“We want a state championship here,” J.T. said. “It’s been our goal. The last couple of years we have fallen short, but I think we have a really good chance to make it this year and win it.”
J.T. said his recent success is due to him being more confident and aggressive at the plate.
“I’m confident after all the work I’ve put in this offseason,” he said. “It is paying off for me.”
While J.T. has stood out in baseball, he is also making strides in the classroom. He was inducted in to the National Honor Society on Monday.
Joe said his family is excited to see the young man J.T. has become.
“At the end of the day, when baseball is over, you’ve got to do what you need to do in the classroom and work hard off the field,” Joe said. “J.T. is a good example of a kid doing things the right way. My wife and I are very proud of him.”