LAFAYETTE — As Lafayette High has advanced through the Class 5A baseball playoffs, there have been very few frantic phone calls by coaches in search of scouting reports.
The Lions’ run has resembled a District 3-5A tournament in some respects. After they faced Acadiana in the second round, the upcoming quarterfinals will feature another familiar foe.
Barbe (28-9) will face Lafayette (26-8) in the opening game of a best-of-three series starting at 4 p.m. Friday at Lafayette High. Game 2 will be at noon Saturday with a third game (if necessary) following.
“Their hitters have seen our pitchers and vice versa,” Lafayette coach Sam Taulli said. “It’s a wash in that aspect.”
The teams’ regular-season meetings were a wash — with each team winning once. The Lions claimed a 7-6 comeback win in Lake Charles on April 4. The Bucs responded with a 13-4 victory on April 21.
One skill that helped Barbe pull away in that second meeting was the Bucs scored their first seven runs with two outs.
“Last week against Live Oak, (the Bucs) scored three runs in the seventh inning with two outs in the first game to win,” Taulli said. “That’s something that obviously they work on, and obviously something we worked on this week is trying to finish. Don’t let up with two outs. Get the third out.”
Lafayette leadoff hitter Antoine Duplantis has been difficult for opponents to retire. He has accounted for 73 runs (41 RBIs and 32 scored). He also has five home runs. Right fielder Ben Reynolds and catcher Cain Castille have hovered around the .370 batting average mark headed into the series.
In the Barbe win over the Lions last month, Bucs starting pitcher Adam Goree got the win by giving up three runs over 5.2 innings.
“In the game at Barbe, we worked counts well and got to their bullpen,” Taulli said. “You have to get their pitch count up and get to their bullpen because they have a couple of pretty good starters.”
One challenge the Lions faced to close the regular season was a series of rainouts that forced Lafayette to play five games in five days. Although that taxed the Lions pitching staff during that week-long stretch, it also forced individuals to step outside their assigned roles and deal with stress.
“It improved our staff because we had to count on a few more guys and pitchers never know when they will be counted on to get one or two guys out,” Taulli said.
In a tough district such as 3-5A, those prolonged two-out rallies or a shutdown inning from a bullpen can make all the difference.
“Barbe has their tradition and their system and they have been successful,” Taulli said. “It has been a dogfight no matter who you play in this district.
“Nobody is better in the playoffs than what we see in this district.”