The second-round playoff loss last season to Kinder still stings for the John Curtis baseball team.
The Patriots will look to remove that sour taste and end a 12-year championship drought in the process, as they begin their postseason run.
Curtis enters the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A playoff brackets that were released Tuesday.
“We were very disappointed in where we finished last year,” said Patriots coach Johnny Curtis, in his 11th season. “These guys have put their nose to the grindstone and worked hard and hopefully their hard work will pay off.”
Curtis (27-6) will open the playoffs against Vidalia in the bidistrict round. The game will likely be played Thursday.
Curtis said he doesn’t know much about Vidalia, the No. 32 seed, which is 13-9 this season.
“When you look at their record and their seeding, it may not blow your mind,” Curtis said. “But when you look at their games against their district champion. (Buckeye), it was 1-0 and 3-0 game. That’s scary because they may have a great pitcher. The way our playoffs is set up, if you run into a buzz saw or a guy having a great day in the mound, that could be the deciding factor. We are going with my ace (Evan Hileman). We can’t take any chances.”
The winner advances to play the Union Parish-Notre Dame winner.
Curtis is hoping for a lengthy playoff run for his team as it seeks its first title since 2002. The team is battle tested, with a victory over Catholic champion Brother Martin, the No. 2 seed in the 5A playoffs.
“The schedule we put together and how our players responded to the challenge of the schedule has been good,” Curtis said. “You obviously have some peaks and valleys in the baseball season, but the thing I am proud of is that the guys have been able to keep steady. That’s going to be a huge piece of the puzzle. I have been fortunate to be an assistant on two state championships and the head coach on one, and the consistency is what’s going to get you there. Hopefully that consistency carries over into the playoffs.”
It will be the final playoff run for eight seniors, the team’s backbone.
“They have played together the last three years and they like each other and I think that’s important,” Curtis said. “When you have good team chemistry, I think that leads to success. We’ve been to the semifinals twice and the quarters a couple times over the years, but we haven’t been able to break through. We hope this is the year we can.”