Acadiana ran the gamut in three games against Sulphur last season.
The Wrecking Rams split a pair of extra-inning District 3-5A games and exited the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs, courtesy of a 10-0 mercy-rule loss to the Golden Tors.
When Acadiana (9-7, 1-0) hosts Sulphur (19-0, 1-0) at 4 p.m. Thursday the Wrecking Rams get the opportunity to make amends for their postseason departure against the nation’s No. 7 team, according to MaxPreps.com.
“The coaching staff was disappointed, and no doubt the kids were also,” Acadiana coach Jay Hodges said. “You don’t want to get knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the 10-run rule, and we did. I think we’ve got a little something to prove.”
Crowley, which has won its past seven games, enters a stretch of six games over the next 13 days that begins Thursday when the Gents (13-2, 2-0) host LaGrange (7-2, 2-0) at Miller Stadium at 4 p.m. in District 4-4A action.
“This is where we’re going to find out what we’re made of,” Crowley coach Christian Doughty said. “We’re going to have to play some really good baseball. We’re fortunate enough to be 3-0 right now, but we feel the three opponents we have to finish the first round are all solid teams.”
Acadiana opened league play with a 13-7 victory Tuesday over Carencro, collecting 13 hits along the way.
The Rams scored six runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning with Tanner Broussard, Tyler LaPorte and Alex Courtier driving in two runs apiece with two outs.
Courtier leads the team with a .409 average, while LaPorte bats .400 with a team-high 14 RBIs.
“I know we’re capable of doing it,” Hodges said. “It was good to actually see them do it, especially with two outs in the first inning. That gave them the confidence they’re able to do that at any given point in time. They’ve just got to believe in themselves.”
Hodges realizes the challenge ahead in carrying over that confidence against a talented Sulphur pitching staff that’s registered six shutouts and held opponents to one run seven times this season.
The Rams will start junior right-hander John Joslin (2-1, 23 strikeouts, 2.12 ERA).
“We know they’re a good ballclub and we have to be on top of our game and I think they have that respect for us as well,” Hodges said. “It’s always a pretty competitive game that can go either way with the exception of the playoff game last year. Our kids will be ready to play.”
Doughty credits his “Big Three” starting pitchers of Ben Broussard, Pate Broussard and Haden Erbe for Crowley’s overall record and undefeated start in league play.
That trio has combined to allow three runs in the Gents’ first three district wins.
Ben Broussard, a LSU-Eunice commitment, was the winning pitcher in Tuesday’s 11-1 triumph over Washington Marion and improved to 5-0 with a 1.44 ERA.
Pate Broussard (2-0, 16 strikeouts 1.45 ERA) is Crowley’s scheduled starter Thursday with Erbe (3-2, 24 strikeouts, 1.90 ERA) ready to go in relief.
Junior catcher Alex Ashby (.404, one HR, four doubles and 18 RBIs) is the team’s top hitter followed by Pate Broussard (.417, 13 RBIs).
“They’re all off to good starts and have done quite well,” Doughty said.
At the heart of Crowley’s upcoming schedule will be four District 4-4A games that will bridge the end of the first round with the start of the second.
The Gents must face LaGrange, Rayne (5-8, 1-1), Eunice (10-7, 2-1) and Beau Chene (9-5, 1-1) during that stretch.
“We’ve done well so far but we know the next one’s going to be quite a test,” Doughty said. “We know LaGrange has a very talented team. We feel like we’ll have to be at our best to be able to win.”