Some baseball coaches in Burke Broussard’s position would complain. As he approaches the end of his career, the University High coach calls Sunday’s quarterfinal game at Albany part of a process.
“We’ve had injuries, illness and a little bit of everything happen to us this year,” Broussard said. “So we’ve experienced some adversity and we’ve won games on the road. It’s just one of those things.”
The fourth-seeded Cubs (24-9) travel to No. 28 Albany (17-9) for a Class 3A quarterfinal set for 3 p.m. Sunday at AHS. Another quarterfinal showdown in 1A matches District 8-1A rivals as No. 12 Ascension Catholic (19-12) plays at No. 4 St. John-Plaquemine (25-4) at 5:30 p.m.
Normally, a fourth-seeded team wouldn’t travel for two straight rounds. But a series of upsets by lower seeds sent University on the road for two straight playoff rounds.
“I know I’ve never seen a year when a No. 20 seed, a No. 21 and a No. 28 win,” Broussard said. “That says a lot about the parity you have in 3A. Albany may be a lower seed but we know they’ve got a couple of guys who can swing it.”
UHS played most of the season without top pitcher Manny Miles, who suffered a broken hand in the 3A football title game last fall. Miles, who led the Cubs to a 2A runner-up finish last spring, has seen limited duty in recent weeks.
Jacob McCain (5-3, 2.09 ERA) is scheduled to get the start.
Catcher James Kern leads UHS with a .415 average, 10 doubles and 29 RBIs. Shortstop Brandt Broussard is at .400 with 39 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. Second baseman Jake Wharton is hitting .368 with seven doubles and 14 RBIs since returning from an injury.
Albany likely will counter with either Kirk Pelloquin (8-1) or Nathan Harris (5-3). Right-fielder Joe Domangue leads the Hornets with a .410 average that included four home runs and 23 RBIs in the regular season. He has five postseason hits, including a homer in a win over District 8-3A rival Loranger on Tuesday.
Tanner House and Brady Beyl are other top hitters for Livingston Parish-based Albany, which upset No. 5 North Vermilion in the first round.
ACHS AT ST. JOHN: The teams split their games during the regular season and both coaches say the third game, with a berth in the state tournament on the line, could be the best.
“Any time we play St. John, you know it’s going to be intense,” ACHS coach Todd Landry said. “The first time we played, it was lopsided, but the second one was 10-9 and came down to the last pitch. That could happen again.”
St. John will start one of two left-handers, Hunter Schnebelen (9-1) or Brandon Noel (7-1). Catcher Jacob Maranto (.607), right-fielder Bailey Whittington (.433) and third baseman Hayden Hemenway (.428) are the top hitters for SJHS.
Ascension Catholic will pitch either Falcon Mire (4-4) or D.J. Latino (6-2).
Grant Montero (.385), Jacob Caballero (.365) and Ross Barbier (28 RBIs) also lead ACHS.
“Ascension Catholic always is going to battle you,” St. John coach Heath Whittington said. “It should be a great game. There will be a lot of pressure and I’m hoping the teams will get a chance to enjoy it.”