Area 5A teams race to Sulphur

The area’s Class 5A contingent of Barbe, Sam Houston and Sulphur are hosting best-of-three series this weekend with hopes of making next weekend’s high school baseball state tournament at McMurry Park in Sulphur mostly a local affair.

The 5A teams lead a group of 15 Southwest Louisiana teams in quarterfinal play this weekend.

None of the 5A teams have lost a postseason game. No. 4 Barbe will host No. 5 Captain Shreve while No. 2 Sam Houston entertains No. 23 Dutchtown and No. 6 Sulphur hosts No. 19 St. Amant.

Sam Houston

Sam Houston (31-5) has won six consecutive games with big stakes on the line — the final three regular-season games earned the Broncos a share of the District 3-5A title and three postseason games.

Head coach Chad Hebert said the Broncos haven’t changed anything during the streak.

“We just got back to what we do best — pitching and playing good defense behind that,” Hebert said.

The Broncos beat Dutchtown 9-0 in March, but Hebert said the score is misleading.

“We thought they were a good team then, we just played really well that day,” he said. “They played well and they are hot now.”

Both teams swept their best-of-three regional series, with Sam Houston beating Lafayette twice at home and Dutchtown beating No. 7 Northshore on the road. The Griffins (20-17) beat No. 10 Mandeville on the road in the first round.

Barbe

Barbe (29-8) head coach Glenn Cecchini said his team is peaking at the right time.

“We are playing really well right now,” he said. “We are pitching well, our defense has been outstanding and we are getting timely hitting. In the last four games, our fielding percentage is 94 and our ERA is 1.33.”

The Bucs have allowed four runs in three playoff games, beating Live Oak by scores of 3-2 and 2-0 in the regional round. Barbe has scored 10 runs in the postseason, but Cecchini said they have gotten big hits when needed.

Runs may be hard to come by against the Gators (34-4), who won in three games against Denham Springs last week.

“They have three right-handed pitchers that throw in the mid-80s,” Cecchini said. “They don’t do anything to beat themselves.”

Sulphur

Sulphur (28-9) swept Covington last week, winning 6-0 and 8-2 behind quality starts by Chance Stone and Haden Parker. Hadyn Stutes has led the Tors offense, getting the winning hit in the opening round and delivering a three-hit game against Covington.

St. Amant (22-13) swept No. 30 H.L. Bourgeois last week and has shutouts in two of three playoff games.

Area teams

• In Class 3A, last year’s finalists, South Beauregard and Iowa, will be on the road. South Beauregard visits Iota while Iowa travels to Brusly, who the Yellow Jackets beat in the semifinal round last year. St. Louis, Division II runner-up last season, visits Parkview Baptist.

• Kinder, a semifinalist last year, hosts Vidalia in a 2A series.

• Grand Lake, Class 1A runner-up last season travels to Slaughter Community Charter.

• Teams looking to make debuts in Sulphur include DeRidder, which hosts District 3-4A mate Buckeye; Welsh and DeQuincy in Class 2A, Merryville in 1A and Reeves in C.

Elizabeth, a regular in the Class C tournament, moved up to B this season and will travel to Zwolle.

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