Crunch time! Final championships are up for grabs
It’s a good thing, indeed, that teams from St. Scholastica and Brother Martin returned from Lafayette with state bowling championship trophies in hand.
The remaining spring sports titles could be few and far between.
From now until May 16 five more state championships are up for grabs. The question is how many will local Catholic schools collect?
They should be among the most successful in golf and tennis, where Catholic athletes excel in these “club sports.”
And while two or three may contend for softball titles, this could be another disappointing season for title aspirants in track and field and baseball.
Mount Carmel, St. Charles Catholic and Archbishop Hannan’s softball teams received high seeds for the playoffs, which began on April 21.
Mount Carmel and St. Charles Catholic are No. 2 seeds in classes 5A and 3A, respectively. Hannan is a No. 4 seed in 2A.
The Cubs just needed to defeat No. 31 H.L. Bourgeois and No. 15 Natchitoches Central on April 25 to gain a berth in the “Fast Pitch 56” state tournament in Sulphur on May 1-2. Both games would be homers for the Cubs unless No. 18 Ponchatoula upsets Natchitoches Central.
Mount Carmel last won the championship in 2008 when Meghan Patterson pitched the Cubs to a 1-0 victory over Pineville in 11 innings. Solid pitching for both sides rendered usually outstanding hitters throughout the lineups powerless and ineffective on that night.
The Cubs made it as far as the semifinals in 2009 but were eliminated by eventual champion St. Thomas More, 2-1. The Cubs advanced to the finals in 2013 but lost to Sam Houston.
St. Charles Catholic should get past No. 31 West Feliciana and the winner of the No. 15 Caldwell Parish vs. No. 18 Buckeye game to earn its berth in the 56-team tournament.
St. Charles Catholic defeated Parkway, 2-1, for the 2008 Class 3A crown. The Comets made it as far as the title game in 2010, where they lost to Evangel. They were quarterfinalists in 2011.
Hannan is a team that knows how to win. The Hawks should be prepared to get past No. 29 Lakeside and No. 13 Kinder before packing to leave for Sulphur.
Coach Becky Lambert returns to the playoffs with perhaps her finest team since her Hannan squad was winning back-to-back Class 1A championships in 2012 and 2013. Now the Lady Hawks will attempt to gain their first championship trophy in Class 2A. They made it as far as the regional round in 2014 before being eliminated by Riverside Academy.
No. 10 Academy of Our Lady is another team that has the ability to make it to the state tournament. Unfortunately, the Penguins’ seeding would place them on a collision course with No. 2 Teurlings Catholic in the Class 4A regional round.
As a No. 8 seed, Pope John Paul could make it to Sulphur, but would face No. 1 Calvary Baptist in the Class 2A quarterfinal round.
Baseball’s bad hop
Jesuit is the last Catholic League representative to win a Class 5A baseball championship. The Blue Jays did it as a No. 4 seed in 2011 by defeating No. 2 Lafayette, 5-4. A year later, Archbishop Rummel barely lost to Barbe (3-2) for the title.
But like a bad hop, the Catholic League has made a mess of the current seedings.
Because of the near parity among five of the district’s six teams, seeds will not be favorable for championship considerations.
If the season were to have ended after last weekend, Jesuit would be the highest seed at No. 11 and host either Ouachita, Hahnville or Chalmette in the bi-district playoff round.
Eleventh is not a bad position in which to play, but remember, the boys play a best-of-three series in the regional round, so pitching depth will be important.
Entering the final week, Brother Martin was looking at a No. 15 seed and St. Paul’s a No. 18. That would match them in the first round with the winner facing No. 2 Catholic High in a best-of-three series.
If that isn’t difficult enough, Holy Cross and Archbishop Rummel are looking like possible Nos. 16 and 17 seeds, which would match the winner of this single-elimination game between the two against the top seed, Sulphur. And Archbishop Shaw needs a big final week to escape the No. 31 position, a spot that sends the Eagles to Baton Rouge to face Catholic High in Round 1.
It doesn’t get any easier for two other area Catholic schools which figure to make the post-season.
St. Charles Catholic has the No. 9 ranked baseball team, by seeding. If that position holds up, the Comets would be on a collision course with district rival John Curtis, to whom it lost, 18-15 and 10-4. They would meet in the quarterfinal round of the 3A playoffs.
Archbishop Hannan opened the final week of the regular season as the No. 16 seed in Class 2A. In that dubious position, the Hawks would have to play No. 1 Doyle in the regional round.
Luckily, the seed positions will change as the final week of play is booked. How much may be the difference between early elimination or a possible trip to Sulphur’s McMurry Baseball Complex in Sulphur on May 14-16.
An individual sport
April 21 marked the first district track and field championship meets scheduled for Joe Yenni and Tad Gormley stadiums here. And we have several individual gold-medal contenders if not teams.
Among the boys are Rummel hurdler Kristian Fulton, St. Paul’s distance runner Eric Coston, Jesuit vaulter Austin Schott and quarter-miler Jandon Briscoe and Holy Rosary’s throwing specialist, freshman Accord Green.
The girls are just as abundant, and the best of the group are Dominican’s Andrea McDonald, Sacred Heart’s Ellie Sylvia and Ursuline’s Lauren Parker, all high jumpers.
St. Scholastica’s Samantha Zelden could double in the javelin and discus. And Cabrini’s Tayla Celestine is among the top hurdlers in Class 4A.