It’s no secret that high school baseball coaches are obsessed with power ratings. That’s because power ratings determine where a team is seeded for the playoffs.

But does that obsession make winning an outright district title any less significant? Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll and Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre say it doesn’t.

Both DSHS and Dutchtown have the chance to clinch outright titles in the Baton Rouge area’s two highly competitive Class 5A districts Thursday night.

Denham Springs (23-9, 9-2) travels to Walker (18-14, 7-4) for a 6:30 p.m. game. A win will give the Yellow Jackets sole possession of the title. A win by Walker could force a tie, if Central (17-15, 8-3) can beat Live Oak (24-8, 7-4) on the road in its 6:30 p.m. game.

Dutchtown (22-10, 8-1) hosts St. Amant (23-8, 7-2) at 6 p.m. for a key District 5-5A game that comes two days after DHS beat the Gators 6-1. A win by St. Amant could force a three-way tie between the Dutchtown, SAHS and Catholic (22-10, 7-2), which hosts East Ascension (17-15, 4-5) at 6 p.m.

“Our goal when the season starts is to try and win as many games as possible,” Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre said. “It just so happens that over the last few years we’ve played very well in district and won a number of games.

“Sure, you’re looking toward the playoffs, which is the ultimate goal. After we won last night, we talked about winning a (district) title outright and what it would mean. So it does count.”

District play has been a major barometer for the Griffins, who have compiled a 51-3 mark in league games over the last four years. Pitcher Evan Richarson (5-0) will start for Dutchtown on Thursday.

“The idea is to get a good tuneup for the playoffs during the last week of the season,” Carroll said. “I can’t imagine us getting much more tuned up than we were last night. Our game (an 8-7 win over Zachary) was fabulous. Both teams played their hearts out.

“Jesse (Cassard, Zachary coach) and I talked after the game about how small the margin is between winning and losing is in our district. It could be an error, or the timely hit. I saw in Dutchtown’s game there was a play where a ball got lost in the lights. It’s the same for them. To win either one of these (districts) outright is an accomplishment, and we have a chance.”

In Walker, DSHS faces a team that lost 3-2 to Central on Tuesday. Mac Sceroler (6-5) is scheduled to get the start for Denham Springs.

In District 6-4A, St. Michael the Archangel (18-9, 5-0) clinched its league title with a 7-0 road win over Lutcher (11-15, 3-2). At 4 p.m. Thursday, the Warriors host Lutcher looking to go through the league season unbeaten.

“We clinched the title (Tuesday),” St. Michael coach Johnny Bernhard said. “But it’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to go through district unbeaten. With that said, we know Lutcher will be ready for us so it will be a challenge.”