Broncos, Bucs go at it again
Since splitting a pair of District 3-5A games, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before No. 1 Barbe and No. 4 Sam Houston would meet again.
This time it will be under the lights at McMurry Park at the state baseball tournament in the Class 5A semifinals at 6 p.m. today.
It is the second time in three seasons that the two schools will meet at the state tournament. In 2019, the Bucs won 8-2 to win their 10th state championship.
“We are going to be prepared,” Barbe head coach Glenn Cecchini said. “They are a formidable opponent.
“They are definitely one of the best programs in the state, and we happen to be in the same district. Our goal is to win our 11th state title and they happen to be in our way.
“The only way we can win a state championship is that we have to win the semifinal game. I know I am stating something that is obvious, but that is how we look at it.”
It is the fourth time since 2015 that two of the three area 5A schools — Barbe, Sam Houston and Sulphur — will meet at the state tournament.
Sam Houston is making its fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament but is in search of its first state title since 2000.
“We have been the bridesmaid quite a bit,” Sam Houston head coach Chad Hebert said. “We are focusing on us.
“We know who we are up against. It is going to be an emotional crowd. It is going to be one of those days where you can’t let the environment control you. It is what it is. If you are going to be the best, you have to beat the best.
“We look forward to the challenge. Barbe is the best until someone proves otherwise. We are making a name for ourselves.”
The Bucs have won 13 consecutive games and have allowed five runs in five playoffs games led by a pair of future Division I players in Jack Walker (Mississippi State) and Gavin Guidry (LSU). The duo have combined to pitch five complete games in the playoffs with 52 strikeouts.
“We don’t give up many runs,” Cecchini said “We have been consistent.
“We have been playing very sound defensively. It is just to continue to play sound baseball. We have been able to do that at a high level for a long time. What is going to determine the game is who makes the plays, gets the two-out hits, walks (fewer) people and gets the bunts down.”
Sam Houston had an offensive explosion Saturday, scoring 25 runs in two games to beat Central-Baton Rouge in three games in the quarterfinals, led by junior Andrew Glass, a Tulane commitment who hit three home runs.
But Hebert said he doesn’t expect a low-scoring game. Barbe won the first regular-season game 8-2 while Sam Houston won the second 6-4.
“I don’t think any team is going to have a big offensive throw down,” Hebert said. “For us, it is going to be doing the little things to get us through.
“It is just going to be when you get a guy on, you have to execute to get him to second and third with less than two outs.”
In the other 5A semifinal, No. 2 West Monroe (26-8) will take on No. 6 Walker (31-8) at 2 p.m. The 5A championship game will be at 6 p.m. Saturday.
West Monroe has battled through several nail-biters in the playoffs, including a one-run win over No. 31 Natchitoches Central in the first round and a close three-game series with No. 18 Parkway in the regional round.
Crawford Courville slides in stealing 3rd as Jackson Voigt during their game at Barbe High School in Lake Charles on Friday.
Sam Houston first baseman Jordan Thompson catches Central-Baton Rouge’s Jude Gremillion in a run down Saturday during Game 3 of a Class 5A best-of-three quarterfinals series in Moss Bluff.