For years, coaches and fans pondered what it would be like to have all seven Louisiana High School Athletic Association baseball titles decided at one location on the same weekend.
And now they have it with semifinal games set to start at 4 p.m. Thursday at Sulphur’s McMurry Park, the site of the LHSAA State Baseball tournament.
“This is something people talked about for years,” LHSAA assistant executive director B.J. Guzzardo said. “The problem was finding a venue where you could do it. And with Sulphur we have it. We’ve worked with Sulphur for years with softball and they always have the volunteers and other things it takes to make a tournament work.”
Guzzardo said the logistics of putting on the three-day tourney with 28 teams from Class 5A to C won’t be that much different than hosting most other tourneys. And why not? Sulphur hosts the 56-team LHSAA State Softball tournament over two days at its Frasch Park facility.
Semifinals begin Thursday with each of McMurry’s three fields featuring games at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday’s semifinal schedule is scattered with games starting one hour apart. The first game at noon features Catholic-New Iberia and Opelousas Catholic squaring off in a 2A semifinal on Field 40. Riverside Academy takes on Kinder in a Class 2A semifinal at 1 p.m. on Field 41. Each game has a three-hour window for completion, meaning that the 5A semifinals also set for Field 41 are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. after the Riverside-Kinder game.
Semifinals also are set to start at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. St. John-Plaquemine meets Sacred Heart-Ville Platte in a 2 p.m. semifinal set for Field 37. Brusly takes on Evangel Christian in a 3A semifinal set for 3 p.m. on Field 40.
Saturday’s championship games begin at noon with Class B on Field 40.
The McMurry complex the LHSAA is using consists of three fields that are the correct dimensions for a high school game.
Fields 40 and 41 sit side-by-side and offer easy access for fans who want to check out more than one game at a time. The other locale, Field 37, is located about 400 yards away.
A year ago, McMurry hosted semifinals and finals for four LHSAA classes — 4A, 3A, B and C.
A fresh start
Shreveport-based Evangel, the Class 2A champion a year ago, is the only team that won a state championship in 2013. There are no defending champions in any of the LHSAA’s seven classes. The top-seeded teams in Class 2A (Oak Grove), 1A (Ouachita Christian), lost in the quarterfinal rounds.
St. Thomas More in 4A Claiborne Christian of Class C and Central Catholic-Morgan City in 1A were runner-up teams a year ago.