After 17 games, Lafayette High baseball coach Sam Taulli pronounced his team ready for District 3-5A play.
“Our pitching’s where it needs to be,” Taulli said. “I think we’re in a good place on offense and defense. We have to carry it over into this week.”
Lafayette (12-5) is coming off a solid showing in last week’s Atchafalaya Challenge, heading into the start of league play Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Sam Houston (13-6).
Lafayette follows that up Thursday, weather permitting, with a 4 p.m. home game against reigning Class 5A state champion Barbe (17-3).
“All three teams from Lake Charles are going to be tough,” Taulli said. “You can’t take any games off, and you can’t take anything for granted. You better show up and play your best.”
Lafayette won four games last week, including a 3-1 mark in the Atchafalaya Challenge, which matched some of the Acadiana area’s top teams against some of the best from the Baton Rouge area.
The Lions, who will start junior Bo Hardin (4-0) against Sam Houston, had to finish a rain-halted game Sunday, scoring four times in a 12-9 setback against Catholic-Baton Rouge.
“We didn’t play exceptionally well before the rain came, but when we finished up the game, we felt better about ourselves,” Taulli said. “We competed hard. We were able to keep them off the board with some young guys on the mound. We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves.”
KAPLAN RIDING HIGH: It was the exact boost Kaplan was looking for heading into the start of District 8-3A play.
The Pirates (9-4) extended their win streak to four games with a big three-run first inning en route to a 5-4 victory Sunday over previously undefeated Livonia.
“They knew ahead of time that could be a big game for us to build that momentum going into district,” first-year Kaplan coach Michael Williams said. “Getting those three runs in the first inning were big.”
Kaplan looks to capitalize on its hot play, punctuated by Sunday’s victory, going into a two-game league series this week with E.D. White (13-2), with the Pirates hosting the Cardinals Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Kaplan travels to E.D. White, which has won seven straight games, on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Williams was previously the head coach at Grand Lake for four years and also coached at Hamilton Christian in Lake Charles before taking over a Kaplan program that captured his attention.
“It’s kind of a job I’ve had my eye on for quite some time,” he said. “I knew Kaplan had talent. They’re good in football every year, and those athletes always play other sports. I knew they knew what it took to win games.”
Kaplan will start right-handed pitcher Trace Lemaire (2-2, 1 save), who has a 1.39 earned run average and has struck out 23 batters in 20.2 innings.
Offensively, the Pirates have relied on an aggressive approach at the plate and on the base paths with centerfielder Grant Frick (.636, 20 stolen bases), Lemaire (.531, 16 RBIs) and Jase Breaux (.417, 3 triples) leading the way.
“The guys have done a good job of learning how the game’s played,” Williams said. “We want to carry that momentum into district play.”