When it comes to facing John Curtis in an athletic competition, sometimes you have to mentally get past the name and simply play the game.
That may be easier said than done when it comes to facing the powerhouse that is the Curtis football dynasty, owner of a state record 26 state championships.
However, when second-seeded John Curtis visits No. 10 seed North Vermilion for what is believed to be the first time in an athletic competition at 4:15 p.m. Sunday, they won’t be bringing their football helmets, they’ll have bats and gloves.
“I don’t think we’re intimidated,” North Vermilion baseball coach Jeremy Trahan said. “We understand they’re a solid team, and they’re going to be tough to beat. I also feel like if we play how we’re capable of, we’re going to be tough to beat as well.”
The Class 3A state quarterfinal playoff will be the second in two years for North Vermilion (24-5) and the sixth overall. They’ll be trying to reach their first semifinal in 25 years.
“A lot of people don’t realize we have a good tradition here going back to the 1980s and ’90s,” Trahan said. “I think we’ve brought that tradition back and have brought a little pride back to the program.”
Curtis (23-3) was the Class 3A runner-up to Evangel Christian a year ago, and with the nucleus of that team intact, the Patriots have put together another formidable team.
Curtis is riding a 14-game win streak, not having lost since a 7-6 setback to Brother Martin on March 21. They advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Jena.
Sophomore left-hander Daniel Cabrera, an LSU commitment, is Curtis’ top pitcher with a 4-1 record, 2.62 ERA and 34 strikeouts. He’s also the team’s leading hitter with a .529 average, five homers, nine doubles and 30 RBIs.
The Patriots are batting .378 as a team with 59 doubles, 14 homers and 63 stolen bases.
“Obviously they’re the best hitting team we’ve faced so far this year,” Trahan said. “I would think we’re going to be one of the better hitting teams they’ve faced this year as well.”
Louisiana-Lafayette signee Donald Comeaux (10-0, 0.47 ERA) will get the start for North Vermilion after pitching five innings and getting a no-decision in his team’s 7-5 regional win over Brusly.
North Vermilion features an offense batting .356 with 40 doubles, 11 homers and 69 stolen bases.
Senior leadoff hitter Seth Patin tops the team with a .430 average to go with 14 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Third baseman Taylor Abshire is batting .409 with a team-high four homers followed by second baseman Connor Dupuy (.386, 27 RBIs, team-best 22 SBs) and Comeaux (.370, three HRs, 23 RBIs).
“I think the kids are ready and excited,” Trahan said. “It will be packed with people standing and watching. The community’s excited. I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere.”