Relaxed Saints take low-keyed approach, don’t want to beat themselves

Published 8:40 am Saturday, May 11, 2024

SULPHUR — After falling a game shy the last two seasons, St. Louis Catholic is back in the final at the state baseball tournament.

The No. 1 Saints (25-10) will play No. 2 Teurlings Catholic (23-10-1) at 2 p.m. today in the select Division II title game at McMurry Park.

St. Louis won the Division II state championship in 2021 but lost in the semifinals to Vandebilt Catholic in 2022 and ’23.

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The Saints have tried to stay relaxed and stay focused on today’s game at the same time.

“We are trying to keep our guys fresh,” St. Louis head coach Connor Lloyd said. “We are trying to keep clear minds and stay sharp.

“Teurlings is a really good ball team. At this point in the year, to win a championship the most important thing to do is not to beat yourself. If we can stay fresh, stay sharp mentally, stay sharp physically, execute our game plan and play clean baseball, we have a chance to come out on top. We are going to have to play our best baseball if we want to dog pile in the end.”

St. Louis has outscored opponents 66-3 in the playoffs, while Teurlings has had to battle back from deficits in its last two games. In Game 2 of their quarterfinal series with Lafayette Christian last week, the Rebels trailed 7-2 before scoring 13 runs in the final three innings to win 15-8. In the semifinals Thursday against Vandebilt Catholic, they won 3-2 on a walk-off RBI single by Ryan Berard.

“They are a well-coached team,” Lloyd said. “Coach (Brooks) Badeaux does a really good job over there. He has a great baseball mind. They play great defense and they are going to throw strikes. They are going to play clean baseball and they are going to do whatever it takes to manufacture some runs on offense.

“If we can limit the number of freebies we give them and have some quality at-bats, I think we will be able to scratch enough runs. Honestly, I am anticipating a low-scoring game. They are a resilient team. We have been keeping up with them throughout their playoff run.”

Teurlings last won a state championship when they three-peated from 2016-18.

Thanks to KeMonni Pullard’s complete game in the semifinals, the Saints have a well-rested pitching staff and will start Talan Tourelle.

“It is great,” Lloyd said. “It allows us to save the pitching for the state championship game.

“We have Talan Tourelle, who is going to go for us. He was our No. 1 throughout the year when KeMonni was out with an injury, so he knows how to pitch against the good teams. He knows how to pitch on the big stage. We are ready for it.”