St. Thomas More aims for normalcy in playoffs _lowres

Advocate Photo by Brad Kemp St. Thomas More second baseman Hunter Langlinais forces out Breaux Bridge base runner Celeb Frederich (23) out and second and turns a double play getting STM batter Alex Franks out at first during their high school baseball game a M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field Wednesday April 15, 2015 at in Lafayette, La..

St. Thomas More baseball coach Gary Perkins is more than ready for a little normalcy.

In the final two weeks of the season, STM was forced to play nine games in 14 days while constantly rescheduling and reshuffling those games because of inclement weather. Hopefully the weather will be kind moving forward to Perkins and the defending state champion now that the postseason has arrived.

STM was one of nine teams from across Acadiana to earn playoff berths Sunday as the LHSAA released the brackets for Classes 4A and 5A.

No. 2 St. Thomas More hosts No. 31 Pearl River on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Class 4A playoffs.

“Right now we are just coming back to earth from a marathon two weeks of rain and makeup games,” Perkins said. “We wanted to be in the top 4 so we could be guaranteed all home games in first three rounds, if we win, of course. We still haven’t come together, but I feel us getting better and better.”

STM struggled earlier in the season as the team dealt with injuries to pitchers. After the Barbe tournament, the Cougars and had lost eight of their first 15 games. The team got healthy and ended the season on a roll, going undefeated in District 5-4A play and enters playoffs on a 15-game winning streak.

“I think any of players feel like that they have yet played our ‘A’ game,” Perkins said. “I think our pitching staff and our offensive staff know they’re not playing to their best ability as of yet. I hope we are focused on improving our game come Tuesday.”

Cecilia, meanwhile, is gearing up to host a playoff game for the first time in five years.

In 2010, Cecilia went on the road in the opening round and upset Lutcher 5-2, which gave the Bulldogs a home game in the second round. But Cecilia fell to Teurlings Catholic 14-6 in that game.

Cecilia has made the postseason twice since then, with both appearances resulting in lopsided losses (12-2 to Tioga in 2012 and 12-1 to West Ouachita in 2012).

No. 11 Cecilia hosts No. 22 Plaquemine at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Class 4A.

“For us, getting through the first round is the hardest,” longtime Cecilia coach Jamie Calais said. “When you are the higher seed, it is more difficult because the lower seed has nothing to lose. The pressure is more on the home team, but we are very excited about it.”

The other Class 4A teams from Acadiana to earn berths were: No. 17 Beau Chene, which will play at No. 16 Loyola Prep; No. 9 Crowley hosts No. 24 Riverdale; No. 5 Teurlings Catholic hosts No. 28 Vandebilt Catholic; No. 20 St. Martinville travels to play at No. 13 Lakeshore and No. 29 Rayne goes to No. 4 Benton.

A pair of District 3-5A rivals will represent the area in the Class 5A bracket.

No. 4 Lafayette hosts No. 29 East Ascension, while No. 13 Acadiana will face No. 20 St. Amant at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“That’s been one of our goals this season is to be seeded high enough that we get a home playoff game,” Acadiana coach Jay Hodges said. “We don’t know much about them, but we know they have a great track record about them.”

In last season’s playoffs, Acadiana fell 10-0 to Sulphur in six innings. In the moments following that defeat, Hodges spoke directly to his then-junior class and told them they needed to step up immediately into leadership roles.

“After that game, we were obviously disappointed,” Hodges said. “We didn’t show up against Sulphur. We told the guys that they needed to take ownership. They have responded. They police things in-house, and they hold everyone accountable. I couldn’t be more proud of them. I really think we can make a solid run.”