Big games are not a rarity at Franklinton.
But Demons fans are used to them happening on Friday nights in the fall, not in May.
The school is known for its powerhouse football program, but the Franklinton baseball team takes center stage starting Friday afternoon. The No. 3 seed Demons (21-4) host No. 6 St. Michael the Archangel (21-9) in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
Friday’s game will be the first of a best-of-three series and starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday’s Game 2 is set for 1 p.m.; the if-necessary Game 3 would be 4 p.m. Saturday.
Demons coach Jeff Tageant said his baseball team is the talk of the town.
“A lot of people are very excited throughout the community,” he said. “You can sense it. The student body is excited, and there will be a spirit day on Friday. Unfortunately we are in the middle of state testing, so that kind of eliminated any pep rally or anything like that.
“The whole team is really excited. We are getting a lot of media coverage as of late, so it is a very exciting time to be a part of the program and to be playing in May. There are not a lot of teams still doing that.”
Franklinton is a veteran team.
“We are led by nine seniors, and we have just had an enjoyable time all year long,” Tageant said. “To this team’s credit, they are dedicated to the game and want to do well. It has allowed us to win some games and beat some very good teams. Right now we are playing as a confident baseball club, and that is something you always want to be doing in the postseason.”
Having defeated Karr in the bidistrict round and Lutcher in the regional round in front of the home crowd, Tageant said the homefield advantage has been immeasurable for his team during their playoff run.
“It is a big difference for sure,” he said. “You are in your familiar surroundings. I’ll give you an example: After we lost the second game to Lutcher on Saturday, we went into our locker room, gathered our thoughts, calmed down and came out and won Game 3. We didn’t press and got the job done.”
Tageant expects a big test from St. Michael out of Baton Rouge.
“They are a very good program, and they hit the ball extremely well,” he said. “It is going to be a good challenge for us. It is just going to be who gets it done the best.
“If we can throw strikes and if we can use our speed to put the ball in play, we are going to have a good chance to be successful. We have hit the ball all year long. The biggest thing is we are going to have to hit against a St. Michael team that pitches the ball extremely well.”