Triple Play: Baseball quarterfinals on deck

Warren Arceneaux
Rodrick Anderson

In this edition of the Triple Play, staff writers Rodrick Anderson and Warren Arceneaux preview the quarterfinal round of the high school baseball playoffs.

What is the best large schools series?

WA: Haughton at Barbe. The Battle of the Bucs was memorable in 2017, when No. 31 Haughton came to Lake Charles and upset defending state champion and No. 2 seed Barbe 2-0 behind a brilliant game by pitcher Nick Heckman. Haughton fought back to win a series against Captain Shreve last week after losing Game 1, allowing one run over the final two games. Barbe has never lost a best-of-three series and is 22-1 in individual games that are part of a series.

RA: Central-Baton Rouge at Sam Houston. The Broncos have the home-field advantage, looking to reach the state tournament for the fourth time in five seasons, but Central has a knack for pulling upsets, especially against District 3-5A schools. The Wildcats beat Barbe and Sulphur to win the 2018 state title as a eight seed, and knocked off Sam Houston in the semifinals in 2017 to win the title as a seven seed.

What is the best small schools matchup?

WA: No. 5 Loureauville at No. 4 DeQuincy, Class 2A. Loureauville’s Tigers mash the ball, with 38 runs scored in three playoff games. DeQuincy wins with pitching and defense having allowed a total of six runs in its three playoff wins. Ace Gunner Gearen won both games of the regional round series against Many. DeQuincy will need someone else to step up and keep Loreauville’s potent offense in check if it is to advance.

RA: LaSalle at Merryville. The Panthers have been on fire lately, winning five consecutive game, including a 21-0 waxing of Haynesville in the regional round. Merryville has outscored its opponents 75-6 in its five-game win streak, led by pitchers Ross Cournoyer, Cameron Davis and Causey Owen, who have allowed three earned runs in their last 25 innings. There is also a bit of a revenge factor, as LaSalle knocked the Merryville softball team out of the state semifinals last week.

Name a player to watch.

WA: South Beauregard’s Rett Bowman. In three playoff games, Bowman has reached base six times with five RBIs and four runs scored. On the mound, he was won two games, allowing two runs with 23 strikeouts in 13 innings. The No. 2 Golden Knights host No. 7 Brusly this weekend.

RA: Iota senior left-handed pitcher Gavin Leblanc has been on a strikeout binge recently with 44 in his last four starts as the Bulldogs built a 14-game win streak. He has allowed three earned runs in his last 25 2/3 innings. One of those games was a no-hitter against Iowa, who the Bulldogs will host this weekend in a best-of-three quarterfinals series.

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