NEW ORLEANS — Destrehan High School baseball coach Marty Luquet said he’s never experienced a game day like Thursday’s.
First, he woke up to a pouring rain. Then, he spent much of the day on the telephone trying to find a place to play. By the time his team finally took the field for warm-ups at Wesley Barrow Stadium in New Orleans shortly after 7 p.m. for its bidistrict playoff game against Fontainebleau, the game had been postponed twice, rescheduled four times, and the players had ridden on a bus from Destrehan to City Park to the Lakefront. It was 8:30 p.m. before Destrehan pitcher Kade Granier threw the first pitch to Fontainebleau leadoff batter Bryce Lombard, and it was 10:30 p.m. when the Wildcats recorded the final out in a 6-0 victory.
“You’ll have things like that happen in American Legion (ball),” Luquet said. “Sometimes, you’ll have games start in one place and finish in another, but not in preps. We were scrambling. We just wanted to play.”
And it was all because of a little rain. Actually, it was because of a lot of rain. The New Orleans Metro area received upwards of four inches of rain in the past week, which wreaked havoc on the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. Games have been postponed, rescheduled, postponed again, moved, and moved again. Some lasted until the late hours as a Louisiana High School Athletic Association deadline loomed. An email from Executive Director Kenny Henderson to the Class 5A teams warned that games had to be played before May 6, otherwise both teams would be forced to forfeit.
So coaches worked their phones trying to find a dry field.
Hahnville’s scheduled bidistrict playoff game against Byrd was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday in Boutte, then moved to Delgado. After a 4 p.m. start and four innings of play, the teams had to endure a more than three-hour rain delay. No. 7 Hahnville eventually outlasted No. 26 Byrd 4-2 and will play No. 10 Zachary at 4 p.m. Monday in Boutte.
The game between No. 14 Denham Springs and No. 19 Captain Shreve was postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday to Thursday, then pushed back from 6 p.m., then moved midgame to Zachary High School. Late Thursday night, Denham Springs won 11-1 and will play No. 3 Brother Martin at 6 p.m. Monday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
Jesuit, Brother Martin and Covington managed to beat the rain as well as their opponents. The No. 5 Blue Jays defeated No. 28 Acadiana 1-0 on Wednesday and will travel to No. 21 Catholic at 6 p.m. Monday.
Brother Martin defeated No. 30 East Ascension 9-1 on Tuesday. No. 16 Covington defeated No. 17 New Iberia 8-1 on Wednesday and will face No. 1 Barbe at 6 p.m. Monday.
No. 2 Destrehan will travel to No. 18 St. Amant at 6 p.m. Monday.
Coaches gave much of the credit for completing Round 1 to the local colleges, which stepped up to help the high schools out.
Over the past week, playoff games have been played at Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana-Lafayette, Delgado Community College and Barrow, which is the home field for UNO this season while Maestri Field undergoes renovations. The Class 3A game between E.D. White and Jewel Sumner was moved from Louisiana-Lafayette to Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss.
“I can’t say enough about (Delgado coach) Joe Scheuermann and what he did,” Hahnville coach David Baudry said.
“They must have spent two hours working to get that field ready for us.”
“High schools are our lifeblood,” said Scheuerman, who rearranged his practice schedules to host one scheduled game and three unscheduled games this week. “We depend on them for our livelihood. If we don’t help them, they won’t help us.”
Indeed, after yet another deluge Friday morning, Delgado was forced to move its practice to Jesuit’s new field.