The long awaited rematch between District 3-5A powers No. 1 Barbe and No. 2 Sam Houston is finally here.
The district rivals will square off today in the Class 5A state championship game at the LHSAA state baseball tournament at 6 p.m.
It is the 10th time in 14 seasons that at least one team from the district has reached the finals and it will be the second all 3-5A final. Barbe beat Sulphur 2-1 in the 2006 finals.
After falling in the semifinals in 2017 and 2018, Sam Houston is in search of its first Class 5A state championship against the team that had set the standard in Louisiana's biggest classification.
"I think they are ready," Sam Houston head coach Chad Hebert said. "It has been their (seniors) goal since they were freshmen and it is here.
"We just have to stay in the moment and do our best and see what happens. The best team doesn't always win, it is the team that plays the best, so hopefully we can bring our best game tomorrow."
Barbe has won nine Class 5A state championships, including three in a row from 2014 to 2016. Sam Houston won the Class 4A state title in 2001 and was the runner up in 2009.
The two squads split a pair of district games including a 3-0 Buc win in which sophomore phenom Jack Walker came within an out away from pitching a perfect game. After throwing just 12 pitches Sunday in relief, Walker is avaible to pitch today as well as Brody Drost and Davis Meche.
Kyle Bartley, who went the distance pitching opposite of Walker in the regular season, is avaible for today's game but Hebert has not made a decision on a starter and mentioned that junior Marcus Mott is also a possibility.
"I think that it is going to be very similar to the first game," Hebert said. "Anytime you play Barbe, you have to throw strikes and minimize the free passes you give them. They are so good at manufacturing runs, you have to keep them off and make them earn their way on base. We are going to try to be patient and get our pitch and see if we can get some things going."
Riding high after senior Chase Fisher's walk off extra inning home run in the semifinals, No. 3 South Beauregard will go after its second state championship today.
The Golden Knights will take on No. 1 Sterlington in the Class 3A finals at 2:30 p.m.
South Beauregard is playing in the finals for the third time in four season after winning its only state baseball title in 2017, plus a runner up finish in 2016.
Sterlington, the 2017 Class 2A champion, avenged an 8-6 loss to Berwick in the semifinals last year with a 1-0 extra inning win over the Panthers Sunday.
A pair of first-timers will face off in the Class 1A finals today when No. 4 Kentwood (13-10) takes on No. 6 Oberlin (14-10) at 11:30 a.m.
Neither team has played in a baseball championship game before, although the Kangaroos are a regular fixture in the 1A football state title game and are the defending champs.
Of the three District 4-1A that reached the semifinals, Oberlin was the only one to make it to the finals.