(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 9:25 AM
The Yellow Jackets may just be the new kids on the state tournament block, but they want everyone to know they are ready to play.
Having already beaten No. 2 seed and powerhouse John Curtis, Kinder will get another chance to shake things up today when they open the Class 2A tourney against another power, third-seeded Evangel Christian.
“They are a great program, a solid team,” said Kinder head coach Kenny Courville. “We know we have to play smart baseball to beat them. We can’t make mistakes.”
No mistakes in these playoffs so far for Kinder, which has rolled past three opponents and into the semifinals at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. First pitch is set for 10 a.m.
“We will be ready,” Courville said. “Early starts won’t bother us. We are excited to be going up there and getting a chance to compete for a state championship. That is all that matters.”
With four sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup, the Yellow Jackets are young, but they have come a long way.
“We have been through a lot, overcome our share of adversity to get here,” he said. “I like the way we are playing right now. We have a lot of things going for us.
“Maybe we are just too young to know any better.”
Led by Christian Manuel, a senior who has posted a 9-1 record and a 1.80 earned run average, the Jackets think they are well armed for the next two games, if they win today. Zach Rider, a sophomore, is 2-0 after coming back from knee surgery and could be the ace.
“Our pitching has been strong,” Courville said. “But we have also gotten some big hits out of some older guys.”
Those guys would be Marshall Harmon (.360) and Tevin Lejune (.405). Sophomore shortstop Dylon Poncho leads the team in hitting at .443 with 36 RBIs.
“I expect our kids will be more excited than nervous,” Courville said.
At 22-11 the Yellow Jackets have already played and won some big games. Now they have a chance at their biggest yet.
No. 21 Catholic-Baton Rouge (23-13) vs. No. 13 Sulphur (24-11), 11 a.m.
No. 1 Barbe (33-3) vs. No. 9 West Monroe (23-12), 2 p.m.
No. 10 Zachary (25-11) vs. No. 18 St. Amant (26-9), 5 p.m.
No. 3 Brother Martin (30-5) vs. No. 6 Sam Houston (25-9), 8 p.m.
Catholic-Baton Rouge-Sulphur winner vs. Barbe-West Monroe winner, 11 a.m.
Zachary-St. Amant winner vs. Brother Martin-Sam Houston winner, 2 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
No. 1 St. Thomas More (28-4) vs. No. 4 Teurlings Catholic (25-7), 7 p.m. (Field 41)
No. 6 Tioga (27-9) vs. No. 2 Lutcher (27-4), 4 p.m. (Field 41)
St. Thomas More-Teurlings Catholic winner vs. Tioga-Lutcher winner, 4 p.m. (Field 41)
No. 1 North DeSoto (28-4) vs. No. 5 Parkview Baptist (18-17), 10 a.m. (Field 41)
No. 11 Brusly (26-7) vs. No. 2 E.D. White (27-4), 1 p.m. (Field 41)
North DeSoto-Parkview Baptist winner vs. Brusly-E.D. White winner, 1 p.m. (Field 41)
No. 1 Calvary Baptist (23-3) vs. No. 4 University (28-6), 1 p.m.
No. 3 Evangel Christian (20-10) vs No. 14 Kinder (22-11), 10 a.m.
Calvary Baptist-University winner vs. Evangel Christian-Kinder winner, 1 p.m.
No. 1 Ouachita Christian (30-5) vs. No. 5 Central Catholic (23-7), 7 p.m.
No. 6 St. John (28-6) vs. No. 2 Mangham (26-8), 4 p.m.
Ouachita Christian-Central Catholic winner vs. St. John-Mangham winner, 4 p.m.
No. 16 Simpson (12-18) vs. No. 12 Hicks (22-8), 7 p.m., (Field 40)
No. 11 Hornbeck (20-13) vs. No. 2 Forest (24-8), 4 p.m., (Field 40)
Simpson-Hicks winner vs. Hornbeck-Forest winner, 3 p.m. (Field 40)
No. 1 Family Christian (24-4) vs. No. 4 Maurepas (16-11), 10 a.m., (Field 40)
No. 3 Claiborne Christian (11-18) vs. No. 2 Elizabeth (24-4), 1 p.m., (Field 40)
Family Christian-Maurepas winner vs. Claiborne Christian-Elizabeth winner, noon (Field 40)