Wallace Victor Sebastian Pontiff Junior was born November 18, 1980 and grew up in Metarie, LA, a suburb of New Orleans. Wally’s parents, Wally Pontiff Sr. and Terry Pontiff, still reside in Metarie. Wally’s siblings include a younger sister, Haley, and a younger brother Nicholas. Nicholas is a senior at LSU, where he plays outfield for the Tigers.
Wally was a four-year letterman at Jesuit High in New Orleans, where he earned Class Five-A all-state honors in 1999. Wally batted .471 his senior season and finished his career at Jesuit with 39 doubles, four triples, 15 home runs, 64 RBI, and 103 runs scored.
Wally said he chose LSU because “it was the best combination of academics and athletics”.
As a freshman on the 2000 National Championship team, Wally started 51 games, batting .347 with 20 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 45 RBI, and scored 41 runs. He was selected MVP of the SEC Tournament, batting .615 with a double, seven RBI, and a grand slam in the championship game against Florida. Wally was named to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional All-Tournament Team.
Wally’s sophomore season was just as successful. He started all 67 games for the Tigers, batting .347, and led the Tigers in hitting in the NCAA Super Regional against Tulane. Pontiff was again named to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional All-Tournament Team.
In his final season at LSU, Wally started 65 or 66 games for the Tigers, batting .339 and leading the Tigers in walks and on-base percentage. In 307 plate appearances, Wally struck out only 20 times. He was selected to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team for a third consecutive year.
Wall Pontiff Jr. passed away on Wednesday, July 24, 2002 at his parents’ home in Metarie. It was later found that Wally died of a genetic heart disease which caused a thickening of the heart muscle. Currently, there is no cure for this disease.
The LSU Tigers play an annual baseball game in Metarie at Zephyr Stadium (New Orleans’ minor league team) in Wally’s honor. Although Wally is no longer on the field, Wally’s spirit will live forever and …No. 31…Always!
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