Nov. 12, 2009
BEAUMONT - Two local pitchers, both with strong connections to Lamar University, became the first baseball players to reach scholarship agreements with the Cardinal baseball program during this year's early signing period.
Kane Benoit, a right-hander from Port Neches-Groves, and Vidor left-hander Trae' Hester will join the Cardinals after completing their high school seasons next spring. Both were All-District 20-4A selections last spring, and each will be representing his school in bi-district football action this weekend.
Benoit, a 6-foot, 185-pounder, is coached by former Lamar pitcher Jay Stone, while the 6-foot, 190-pound Hester has been learning his baseball from Kyle Green, another former Cardinal pitcher.
Benoit, a former teammate of current Lamar sophomore pitcher Eric Harrington, has posted a 12-3 record and a 2.33 earned run average over the past two seasons. He also earned honorable mention on the 2009 Texas Sports Writers Association Class 4A All-State team.
"He's a big kid who has a strong arm," said Gilligan, who specializes in coaching the Cardinals' pitchers. "We're tickled to get him and excited to have him join what we believe will be a really strong pitching staff. He has a good, live fastball and has shown a lot of potential."
Stone, who played under Gilligan in the early 1980s, said, "Kane's a great kid who leads by action. He has gotten bigger and better each year. He has great work ethics and has always handled himself well and maintained his composure in pressure situations."
Hester, who plans to major in engineering, has already earned three letters in baseball, and he has helped the Pirates reach the playoffs in each of those seasons. He was the district newcomer of the year as a freshman.