Local Catholic schools prepare for spring playoffs
The City of Sulphur’s recreation department is preparing for two weeks of championship softball and baseball tournaments during the first three weeks of May, but here, on the opposite side of the state, there is still some unfinished business to be taken care of on the area diamonds.
The first championship event takes place at Frasch Park May 2-3 when 56 softball teams converge on the Calcasieu Parish city to vie for state championships in seven classes.
Among the local Catholic schools that appear to be prime title contenders are Cabrini in Class 4A and Mount Carmel, a regular in the Class 5A tournament.
Sandwiched between the softball and baseball championships is the state outdoor track and field meet, which will take place in Baton Rouge on May 8-10.
The state capital is also hosting the bowling championships this weekend. Tennis will take place April 28-May 1 in Monroe, and the golf championship tournament is May 5-6 in Shreveport – an expensive venture for schools from this part of Louisiana, whose athletes will be traveling to the far reaches of the state in the weeks to come.
The latest baseball power rankings show the reigning champion, Catholic of Baton Rouge, in the No. 9 position.
Barbe is the top seed in Class 5A, just percentage points ahead of No. 2 Jesuit. The Lake Charles school (22-2) has a power ranking of 31.40 as of April 6, while the Blue Jays (20-2) have a power ranking of 30.95.
Catholic League battle
Jesuit’s 1-0 win over Brother Martin, behind C.J. Avrard’s pitching gem at Ryan Stadium on March 31, put the Jays a game ahead of Brother Martin in the District 9-5A standings. The Crusaders (19-3) are anxious to get on with the rematch April 16 at their “home” field of First NBC Stadium.
The Crusaders, a quarterfinalist in the state tournament last year, are ranked No. 3 in the power ratings, a notch below Jesuit at 30.55.
The remainder of the top 10 at the start of the week were: 4. Comeaux, 5. Live Oak, 6. Denham Springs, 7. Alexandria, 8. St. Amant, 9. Catholic and 10. Zachary.
Archbishop Shaw (16-8) is the No. 17 seed, but the Eagles are coming off what head coach Kirk Bullinger described as a very difficult week. Between March 31 and April 5, they played a game every day, winning the first four before exhaustion set in. Now they have to get ready for the stretch run.
Archbishop Rummel is battling to stay in contention after having lost its ace hurler and Arizona signee, Kaleb Roper, to elbow surgery. The Raiders (15-10) were ranked at No. 19, a position that would place them against the No. 1 seed should they win their playoff opener.
Holy Cross (12-10) started the week at No. 30 and will need to start winning district games to stay in the playoff race.
St. Paul’s (9-8) is a No. 27 seed whose playoff hopes hinge on the Wolves outlasting Covington, Fontainebleau and Slidell, with whom they are tied for the District 6-5A lead with 5-2 league records.
In Class 3A, St. Charles Catholic (15-5) is a No. 5 seed and is playoff bound, while De La Salle (9-9) will try to hang on to its No. 28 spot, but has two District 11-3A games left with No. 1 seed John Curtis, among others.
And in 2A, Archbishop Hannan (9-9) is at No. 17.
Cabrini ranked No. 1
The school on the bayou enters the week with a 20-2 record, a solid hold on District 9-4A and a win streak that dates back to March 5.
Chasing the Crescents for the No. 1 playoff berth in Class 4A are three other parochial powers – Vandebilt Catholic (12-5), St. Thomas More (13-4) and Teurlings Catholic (16-4).
But the Academy of Our Lady (13-5), winner of its last four games, is another prime contender in the No. 7 position. The Penguins have an interesting tuneup game scheduled for April 14 when they meet Mount Carmel. But they seem to be unbeatable in District 10-4A.
Also within the 32 Class 4A prospective playoff teams are Ursuline Academy and St. Scholastica.
Sitting in the District 9-4A second spot behind Cabrini is No. 14 Ursuline (15-8). And the Lions will have one more shot at the Crescents on April 10 to try to reverse the 5-2 loss they suffered at home.
Mount Carmel (18-7) is ranked behind St. Amant, Ouachita and Live Oak in the Class 5A power rankings and has the solid pitching and defense to make the final four in the Class 5A field.
The Cubs have steamrolled to victories over District 9-5A mates Archbishop Chapelle (13-6) and Dominican (11-8-1) in a district title sweep. The other two ended with 1-3 records, splitting games against each other. But both are still among the playoff qualifiers. Dominican is a No. 23 seed and Chapelle No. 24.
St. Scholastica’s record of 12-10 may not be impressive, but the Doves are 6-0 in District 6-5A play and holders of a No. 21 ranking.
Winner of 15 of 22 games, St. Charles Catholic is ranked at No. 13 and runner-up to No. 1 Curtis in District 11-3A. The Lady Comets lost to Curtis, 12-2, on March 20. But since then they have outscored their other district foes, 58-2, winning by the 10-run rule in all four games.
Archbishop Hannan and Pope John Paul II will have played for the District 8-2A championship April 8. The two shared the district lead with 5-1 records entering that game in LaPlace. Regardless of the outcome, Hannan (15-7) and John Paul II (12-7) have the power points necessary to qualify for post-season play. Also a contender is St. Mary’s Academy (13-6), ranked No. 24 in Class 2A.