It wasn’t the kind of entrance to District 6-3A play that Erath baseball coach David Jordan was looking for.
The Bobcats have followed consecutive gut-wrenching losses to Notre Dame three weeks ago with five straight victories heading into Thursday’s 4 p.m. regular-season finale at North Vermilion with an opportunity to gain a share of the league’s championship.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better situation,” he said. “You’re playing the last district game to compete to win a district championship. There aren’t too many other teams doing that.”
Erath (17-8, 5-2) kept the door open for a shot at the district title with a dramatic 4-3 home victory in eight innings over North Vermilion on Tuesday. The Patriots were playing their third game in as many days after sweeping Notre Dame by a combined 24-4 score.
LSU-Eunice signee Ross Granger held North Vermilion’s offense to three hits over 7.1 innings with four strikeouts. Granger’s younger brother, freshman Mason Granger, came on in relief to get the save.
“That was huge for us, to be able to do that against a red-hot North Vermilion team that was scoring a lot of runs,” Jordan said. “For Ross to throw the way he did wasn’t just good news for us in that game but great news heading into the playoffs. His last two outings have been the normal Ross. He has looked sharp.”
During Erath’s climb toward the top of the league’s standings, Ross Granger also defeated Kaplan 2-0, and Mason Granger has worked his way back from a broken thumb suffered in the second week of the season.
Tuesday’s game was tied twice through four innings when Tyler Touchet was hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth. He took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on Layne Faulk’s sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch.
“It was a playoff atmosphere game, and we get to go North Vermilion and have another game with a playoff atmosphere,” Jordan said. “It’s real good prep playing in front of larger crowds with a little more at stake, which allows us to go through that before going into the playoffs.”
Erath will start junior right-hander Luke Young (5-0, 1.85 ERA, 27 Ks) against North Vermilion and rely on an offense led by Ross Granger (.395, six doubles, 25 RBIs), first baseman Bryson Suire (.364, seven doubles, 25 RBIs) and shortstop Jesse Jordan (.333, nine doubles, 17 RBIs).
David Jordan attributed his team’s current position to its resiliency after Notre Dame wiped out an 8-2 deficit at Erath to win 12-10 and snapped a 4-4 deadlock in the sixth for a 5-4 victory.
“The losses to Notre Dame were terrible,” Jordan said. “We had to continue to believe in what we’re doing was going to work; play the percentages and we should end up with a pretty good year. We have great leadership, and this group of kids doesn’t have any quit in them.”
Opelousas Catholic (19-7, 7-2) can wrap up the District 7-2A championship with a win over Delcambre (12-8, 5-2) at home Thursday at 4 p.m.
The visiting Panthers can claim the title with wins over OC and a sweep of Loreauville (13-6, 5-2) — a series that begins Saturday in Delcambre at 2 p.m. before shifting to Loreauville on Monday at 4 p.m.
The outright District 5-3A crown will be Port Barre’s if the Red Devils (12-9, 7-1) can defeat Pine Prairie (13-8, 5-2) at home at 4 p.m. Thursday.