When the No. 5 Teurlings Catholic High School baseball team travels to Sulphur to take on top-seeded Tioga in the Class 4A semifinals of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Baseball tournament on Thursday at McMurry Park in Sulphur, it will do so in solidarity, both in spirit and in hair style.
“You’re going to see 21 guys with bleach blonde hair,” Teurlings coach Mike Thibodeaux said. “It’s a little bit out of character for us, but it’s what this year’s club is, and we’re having fun. … Champions have to find a way to get through that pressure barrier, and if allowing those guys to have some wacky hairdos makes them feel looser, then I’m all for it.”
Thibodeaux said this unanimity both off and on the field has allowed Teurlings to reach this point in the playoffs, just two wins shy of the program’s sixth state title.
The Rebels have played some of their best baseball in the playoffs, winning its first five playoff games by a combined score of 26-9.
No one Teurlings player has stood out throughout the season and carried the Rebels to their recent victories. It’s been a team effort.
“I’m fortunate as a coach to have a group of guys that I consider throwbacks,” Thibodeaux said. “They don’t have to have the prettiest bats or equipment. I don’t have showboats on my team. These guys are not afraid to go lay down a bunt.”
And it’s not just the starters and regular players leading Teurlings. Even the players that don’t often see the field have found a way to contribute.
“Even the guys in the dugout understand that their role is extremely important as far as creating energy, keeping charge and doing their job to the best of their ability,” Thibodeaux said.
The Rebels will likely need to take advantage of every opportunity given to them and use all the energy they can muster when they take on a balanced Tioga squad that has only dropped seven games this season.
Thibodeaux said the Indians are so dangerous because they have the ability to win a game both with their stacked offensive lineup and their stifling defense and pitching.
“This Tioga club is the No. 1 overall seed for a reason,” Thibodeaux said. “They’re an outstanding ballclub, and we’re going to have to play great baseball to have a chance to pull off a win in the semifinals.”
But Thibodeaux said he believes that if any team can take down the No. 1 seed, it’s his Rebels because of their unified attitude.
“We haven’t had the demons of selfishness that you normally have to fight in order to build a team,” Thibodeaux said.
“I feel that I’m very fortunate and blessed to have a bunch of kids that bought into this style of baseball and flourished at playing the game as a team.
“That’s our identity.”