Five of the last six years the Elizabeth Bulldogs have reached the state tournament.
Each of those times they lost in the semifinals.
Now they are back with hopes of sticking around a little longer. But their task could be a tall order.
Elizabeth will face Claiborne Christian from West Monroe at 1 p.m. today in Sulphur as the Class C tournament gets under way at McMurry Park.
That could mean 6-foot-6 Zach Osbon will be waiting.
“He is a very good pitcher, a horse for Class C,” said Elizabeth head coach Rhon Morgan. “He will be tough if we get him.”
The Bulldogs will counter with their own ace, undefeated Ian Morgan, who will bring an 11-0 record to Sulphur.
If Elizabeth (26-4) can get back, Claiborne Family Christian will likely be waiting. One of those two teams have knocked the Bulldogs out in the semifinals in their five previous trips.
“I like the way we match up with Claiborne one through nine,” Morgan said. “Family Christian is a monster for this class. Both these teams are very good, but I think we are better than before.”
Experience is the big thing for Elizabeth, but there is also the fact it is tired of losing in the semifinals.
“We have not been able to get over the hump, but maybe this year,” Morgan said. “It would be great to get to Saturday and have a chance to win the state title. That is what we are looking for.”
Claiborne posts an 11-18 record after playing up most of the season.
“They have had a good schedule so their record is misleading,” Morgan said. “We know what we are up against but maybe this is the year we can break through.”
It would be the perfect time for the Bulldogs.
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)