Live Oak softball coach Michelle Morris stood near the edge of the infield at Live Oak Sports Park less than an hour before her team was supposed to play a rain-delayed Class 5A playoff game with District 4-5A rival Zachary.
After working the field for more than two hours, the teams elected to push their second-round game to 2 p.m. Sunday. It was one of two area 5A games delayed by rain. Hours earlier, a downpour forced seventh-seeded Dutchtown to delay its game with No. 10 Hahnville to 3 p.m. Sunday.
“This has been the strangest year weather wise,” Morris said. “I don’t ever remember us losing more than three games to rain in a year. This year it was seven. We didn’t get the chance to make up that many.”
The break from the action also brought to light another harsh reality for Morris and the Baton Rouge area’s remaining other 5A schools — they’ll be looking to eliminate each other.
Two of the four 5A quarterfinals that help open the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Fast Pitch 56 state tournament set to begin Friday at Sulphur’s Frasch Park are all local affairs.
One matchup is already set — top-seeded St. Amant (26-0) faces No. 8 Denham Springs (23-8) at 6 p.m. Friday. The winner between No. 3 LOHS (23-3) and No. 14 Zachary (19-11) faces seeded-seeded East Ascension (22-7) at 4 p.m.
The old District 4-5A and 5-5A debate takes on a new meaning. Denham Springs was a 5A runner-up a year ago to Ouachita Parish, the No. 4 seed that got eliminated by No. 13 Alexandria Senior High on Friday.
Though they play in different districts now, keep in mind that St. Amant and Denham Springs have plenty of past district and playoff history. It’s been nine years since St. Amant won its last state title. And the Gators beat Denham Springs 9-1 that year to claim the crown.
“You can’t control it (power rankings), but I hate that we’re having to play each other,” Morris said.
Sunday’s winner between Dutchtown (22-8) and Hahnville (21-8) meets No. 2 Mount Carmel Academy (22-3) also at 4 p.m. Friday.
The 5A logjam offers the only quarterfinal quandary. Fourth-seeded Parkview Baptist (26-8) and No. 7 Brusly (21-11), two District 7-3A rivals, wouldn’t meet each other until the final should both advance.
In 1A, top-seeded Catholic-Pointe Coupee (21-4) could meet No. 5 Ascension Catholic (20-3) in the semifinals if both advance. CHSPC plays No. 8 St. Mary’s (17-7), while ACHS takes on No. 4 Central Catholic (23-3) in a rematch of a 2014 semifinal.
Fourth-seeded Maurepas (17-5) of Class B plays No. 12 Glenmora (15-13) in its quarterfinal.