When asked whether defending state champion Family Christian Academy is again the top baseball team in Class C, Maurepas coach Anthony Gregoire didn’t hesitate.
“They’re the best in Class C and could be the best in some other classes, too,” Gregoire said. “You’re looking at a team that contended for titles for years and finally broke through last year. And they only graduated one player. Honestly, I believe they are better than they were last year.”
With those compliments in place, Gregoire quickly points out that his team is excited about facing the Flames (17-4, 0-0) in a District 6-C showdown set for 4 p.m. Tuesday at FCA.
Keep in mind that Maurepas (13-6, 1-0) is no slouch. The Wolves were ranked fourth in the latest Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association Class C poll, three spots behind No. 1 FCA. That fact makes the Tuesday showdown even more intriguing.
Rick Smith, who previously guided Class B Bethany Christian to prominence, is in his first season as FCA head coach, replacing Robin Herd, who stepped down to focus on ministry duties.
The Flames have played a tough nondistrict schedule and have scored victories over ranked teams from other classifications. For example, FCA beat 3A Brusly on Saturday.
“We’ve got six senior starters, which makes us a little top-heavy,” Smith said. “We’ve got balance throughout our order. The guys who hit seventh and eighth for us have been big RBI contributors. Everybody has a role.
“What we’ve tried to do is challenge them with this schedule. Maurepas has a younger squad this year, but they’ve always had a quality program in Class B-C over the years. Our guys know they can’t take anything for granted.”
Family Christian’s four losses were to top Class 2A teams. The Dunham School beat FCA twice, but the Flames also have a win over the Tigers. University and Newman are the other 2A teams to beat FCA.
M.J. Frazier (6-1), a senior left-hander, gets the start for Family Christian. Junior Jace Berthelot (9-0), a right-hander, is scheduled to start for Maurepas, but is recovering from an illness, and his status could be a game-time decision.
Ben Chauvin leads Family Christian at the plate with a .522 batting average that includes 10 doubles, six home runs and 30 RBIs. Second baseball Tyler Randall and utility player Richard Hopkins are other veteran leaders.
Sophomore utility player Mason Diaz (.475, 22 RBIs) has also been impressive. Outfielder J.J. Holmes, first baseman Titus Rogers and outfielder Trae Steudlein have also made their marks.
Freshman catcher Chaz Scivicque (.465) is the top offensive threat for Maurepas, which has six home runs as a team. Devon Sheridan (.382) and Berthlot (.333) are other leaders for the Wolves.
“We’re different teams,” Maurepas’ Gregoire said. “Family Christian, especially playing at their field which is a little smaller than ours, will probably go for the long ball. And they’re capable of doing that at any time and scoring runs in bunches.
“My team is one that doesn’t hit for a lot of power. We score runs when we can. The key for us will be keeping it close.”