Attention Jesuit, John Curtis and Riverside baseball teams:
It’s up to one of you to end the slump.
The last time a team from the New Orleans area put a baseball state championship trophy in its trophy case was 2011 when Jesuit beat Lafayette for the Class 5A championship.
I know what you’re probably saying.
“That’s not a slump. That’s just two seasons (2013 and 2012) without a title.”
But by New Orleans area high school baseball standards, that’s a slump.
At least one New Orleans team has won a title in 15 of the last 20 years.
You have to go back to before the current players were even born to find a two-year drought like the current one.
That was way back in 1993 and 1994.
And a three-year drought is basically unheard of.
Going all the way to 1970, there has never been a three-year run without a title for a local school.
The Blue Jays, the Patriots or the Rebels can avoid that from happening this year.
All three schools will play in Sulphur on Friday in the semifinals of the LHSAA Baseball State Championships at McMurry Park.
Riverside plays Kinder at 1 p.m. in the Class 2A semifinals. Curtis plays U-High at 3 p.m. in the Class 3A semifinals. And Jesuit plays Live Oak at 4 p.m. in 5A.
The winners advance to the championship games set for Saturday.
So here is a look at three teams who could end the drought.
Let’s start with John Curtis, which appears to have the best chance of winning a title.
The Patriots are the top seed and have shown they can be dominant (like they were in a 15-0 opening round victory over Vidalia) or they can win the close games (like they did in the previous two rounds when they beat Notre Dame 4-3 and Parkview Baptist 6-3).
They are also experienced with eight seniors.
And they are battle tested.
They have won 30 games this season with just six losses. Among their more impressive victories is a win over Brother Martin, which won the always-tough Catholic League title and was among the favorites to win the 5A crown before being ousted by Live Oak on Mother’s Day.
Curtis is looking for its first state title since winning in 2002.
It would cap off what has been a splendid school year for the athletic program that has about as many titles this year as it has folks with the last name Curtis on its coaching staff. (OK, well maybe not that many.)
But the school has won state titles in football, cross country, indoor track, outdoor track and softball already this school year. A sixth state title (and third in three weeks) isn’t out of the question for Johnny Curtis’ team.
Riverside, meanwhile, is seeking its first state title since 2006.
Two months ago, who would’ve thought we would be saying “Riverside” and “state title” in the same sentence?
The Rebels had limped out to a 3-9 start.
But talk about a team peaking at the right time. They have been on a tear since then, losing just one game.
Led by freshman Mason Vicknair, they found a way to win in eight innings in the quarterfinals against Runnels on Monday night.
They will need to play a much cleaner game than they did Monday, though, when they combined for nine errors.
Riverside is a No. 3 seed and will play second-seeded Kinder.
That just might be the title game, at least according to the seeds. (Opelousas Catholic, a No. 9 seed, and New Iberia Catholic, a 12 seed, are on the other side of the bracket.)
Riverside is going for its third state title.
Tradition-rich Jesuit will be looking to add to its state-best 20 state titles. The Blue Jays have the pitching and defense to make it 21.
They have won their last four playoff games (two each over Rummel and Alexandria) by a combined score of 19-3, including three shutouts.
Jesuit, a No. 3, will need that steady pitching to continue against a Live Oak team that proved it has solid pitching as well (and an ability to swing the bats) when it stunned Jesuit’s Catholic League brethren Brother Martin.
So how will the three New Orleans area schools fare?
Will they hit a triple?
That hasn’t happened since 1997 when Rummel, Curtis and Pope John Paul II all won.
What about a double?
The last one of those was in 2009 when Northshore and Northlake Christian won.
After a two-year slump, we’ll settle for a single.