Both teams had seemingly been pointing toward this moment for the last several weeks.
Notre Dame reeled off seven wins in eight games, while North Vermilion had an impressive 13-game win streak snapped in a one-run defeat last Friday.
Instead of being able to open their much anticipated District 6-3A showdown Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Miller Stadium in Crowley the Pioneers (15-8, 4-0) and Patriots (19-4, 4-0) will have to wait at least a day — if not more — because of persistent rain in the Acadiana area.
North Vermilion is set to host a second game between the teams Thursday at 4 p.m.
“I hope it tapers off,” Notre Dame coach Steve Soper said. “It’s definitely difficult. We had a really good week last week and to kind of stop that momentum is kind of a pain. The only thing we can worry about is taking everything day by day and getting better that one day and carrying it over.”
North Vermilion coach Jeremy Trahan acknowledged there’s a certain amount of angst associated with having to wait to play such a high-profile game between two teams among the top 10 in Class 3A’s power ratings.
“It’s a bummer,” Trahan said. “I’m sure they’re chomping at the bit to play. We’re excited about it. You would hope it would play out perfectly and we could play Tuesday-Thursday. I think it’s going to be two really great matchups, but you can’t control the weather.”
Led by UL-Lafayette signee Donald Comeaux, North Vermilion rattled off a stretch of 13 consecutive wins which featured six shutouts and ended in a 4-3 loss to Opelousas Catholic.
“We’ve played unbelievable defense this year,” Trahan said. “We’ve made 19 errors in 23 games. We were able to string along a whole lot of games without an error. That’s been the key, and we’ve gotten good pitching as well. If we play defense like that, and how we’re capable of, we’re going to be hard to beat no matter who we play.”
Comeaux (7-0, 0.30 ERA) has given North Vermilion a dominant No. 1 starter and has also wielded a potent bat with a .360 average and 20 RBIs.
Senior catcher Seth Patin leads the Patriots offensively, hitting .470 with 13 stolen bases, followed by senior third baseman Taylor Abshire (.395, 4 HRs, 20 RBIs), senior shortstop Ty Desormeaux (.350, 31 RBIs) and sophomore Connor Dupuy (.370, 20 RBIs, 20 SBs).
“We’ll just go one game at a time and throw our best guy available,” said Trahan, who also counts on left-hander Ryan Meaux (5-1, 2.00 ERA). “Hopefully we can continue playing well and give us a chance to win.”
One of the highlights in Notre Dame’s recent torrid stretch was a 13-2 victory over cross-town rival Crowley in which Joe Faulk (4-3, 3.02) pitched a complete-game, six-hitter.
“This year, we’ve always lacked that one detail of the game,” Soper said. “That was one was of those days where everything kind of fell together for us which was nice to see this late in the year.”
The Pios maintained that momentum going into their first league challenge against Erath, which turned into nail-biting 12-10 and 5-4 victories.
Notre Dame, 5-0 in one-run games, is paced by designated hitter Taylor Faulk (.371, eight 2Bs, 18 RBIs) along with right fielder Dillan Gilbert (.348, eight 2Bs), catcher Nick Harris (.328, 10 2Bs) and third baseman Sam Hoffpauir (.328, 10 2Bs, 16 RBIs).
Right-hander Chase McBride (5-1, 3.27) and left-hander David Frank (3-0, 1.46) give the Pios two additional pitching options.
“The biggest thing with us is not worrying about who we’re playing, but it’s a matter of us taking care of what we need to get done on the field,” Soper said. “We really try and approach every game in the same manner — just come out and play one way.”