St. Martinville ended one drought Sunday and now aims to wipe out another come Wednesday.
The Tigers went 14-10 this season and earned a berth in the Class 4A baseball playoffs for the first time since 2010. That took care of the first of the team’s two droughts, and they’re hoping to end another one Wednesday when No. 20 St. Martinville plays at No. 13 Lakeshore. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
St. Martinville has not won a playoff game since the 2005 playoffs, when the Tigers celebrated a 10-9 victory over Salmen in the opening round. The team has only made the postseason twice (2008, 2010) since that season.
“We are all excited about it,” St. Martinville coach Mike Lemoine said. “From the principal to the custodial staff, everybody is excited around here. We are really looking forward to going out there and accomplishing our goal of winning a playoff game.”
The past three seasons, Lemoine has been forced to play several younger players as the Tigers took their lumps. Those players are now juniors and seniors, like Tuesday’s starting pitcher Braxton Resweber (6-1 overall), and that veteran experience is what has made the difference this season.
“I have had this group of guys playing with me for the past three years,” Lemoine said. “They are seasoned now. They finally got some seasoning. You just can’t put meat in a gumbo pot without seasoning.”
As for what it will take to win the program’s first playoff game in 10 years, Lemoine breaks it down to executing the three facets of baseball.
“You probably could ask any coach in the state and they would tell you the same thing,” Lemoine said. “You have to get the big hit, play solid defense and have good pitching. I think any coach would be happy to see those things.”
Beau Chene is looking to finally win a playoff game as the Gators have lost six straight postseason contests. With the exception of a 5-4 loss to East Ascension in 2005, Beau Chene has been routed in those games losing by an average of nine runs. The worst defeat came two years ago in an 18-1 loss to Vandebilt Catholic.
No. 17 Beau Chene plays at No. 16 Loyola Prep on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Class 4A playoffs.
“I think reason why the score is always like that is that year after year they have had a mental block, like they are waiting for something bad to happen,” Beau Chene third-year coach Greg Fontenot said. “That is something I have tried to change. I feel like they have come a long way.”
Beau Chene went 19-8 this season and benefited this year from the emergence of freshman pitcher Justin Devillier. The right-hander missed five starts in the beginning of the season with a fractured foreman but has since become a reliable force on the mound. Devillier is 4-0 overall with a 1.24 ERA and will start Tuesday’s playoff opener.
“He’s really grown into something special,” Fontentot said. “I feel like he has passed the expectations for us as a freshman. He is a bulldog on the mound.”
The Gators are led offensively by shortstop Mason Oswald (.412) and first baseman Gabe Richard (.379). Beau Chene, though, has struggled against quality pitching as in four of those losses the team was held to a single run.
Fontenot believes if his team can remedy that then the Gators can end that drought.
“I think we are playing well,” Fontentot said. “Our biggest thing all year has been lack of hitting against good pitching. Our pitching and our defense have really kept us in games all year. If we learn how to hit the good pitching, then we could be a really tough team to beat.”