Getting serious in second round of playoffs

STRIKE ZONE

In this edition of the Strike Zone, staff writers Warren Arceneaux and Rodrick Anderson discuss the upcoming regional round of the baseball playoffs.

What is the best large schools series?

WA: Iowa at Jena. The Yellow Jackets reached the championship game the hard way last year, winning a Game 3 on the road in the quarterfinal series, then knocking off top seed Brusly in the semifinal round. This year they have to hit the road a round earlier, but seniors like Bryce Buquet, Dyami Huntsberry and Haeden Joubert have proven they can rise to the occasion on the big stage.

RA: Archbishop Hannan at St. Louis. Other than a blip on the radar when they lost to Kinder, No. 1 in Class 2A, in their final regular-season game, the Saints are the hottest team in Southwest Louisiana heading into the playoffs, winning 14 of their last 15 games. They will face a team that is also playing its best ball. Hannan has won nine straight and has not allowed more than three runs during that span.


What is the best matchup in the small classes?

WA: Vidalia at Vinton. Both programs are on the rise. Vidalia won its district for the first time in two decades. Vinton earned a share of its district crown with a very good DeQuincy team. The Lions were swept in the second round last year so this weekend provides a chance to take another step forward in the program’s ascent.

RA: Lake Arthur at Loreauville. It has been a season of firsts for the Lake Arthur Tigers. They played their first home playoff game and got their first playoff win. Now the 12th-ranked Tigers will face No. 5 Loreauville looking to extend its best season in program history.


Who is a player to watch?

WA: Barbe catcher Ben David had three great at-bats Monday in Barbe’s win over Walker, getting an RBI with a squeeze bunt and pair of singles. The Bucs face Live Oak this weekend, and David’s production in the middle of the lineup and defense behind the plate are big keys to the team’s success.

RA: Sam Houston’s Barron Simon. The senior was dominant on Monday in the Broncos’ first-round win over Ouachita with nine strikeouts in five innings. Simon has been the Broncos’ ace with a 7-0 record and a 2.33 ERA in 45 innings and wins over No. 4 Barbe and No. 6 Sulphur. He will likely get a start in this weekend’s best-of-three series against Lafayette.

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