It is a quandary for high school softball coaches in the Baton Rouge area.
When the Louisiana High School Athletic Association released its softball playoff pairings Thursday, two Baton Rouge area teams, top-seeded Brusly High in Class 3A and No. 2 St. Amant in 5A, helped lead the way.
There are five Baton Rouge teams seeded in the top eight in Class 5A. But the number the coaches all know is seven, as in seven years since a team from the metro area has won a state title.
“The last two years we’ve been right there,” Brusly coach Beau Bouvier said. “We were the runner-up to Catholic-New Iberia two years ago and to Buckeye last year. Our girls are ready to be there, but it’s a process.
“Being a No. 1 one seed is compliment for the work they put in, and what we’ve done up to this point. I’ve told our girls to be proud of it. But now we’re all 0-0, and the first team that gets to five wins gets the title.”
Bouvier’s Panthers (28-2) have won 26 straight games and haven’t lost since the first weekend of the season. Brusly hosts No. 32 Avoyelles at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Most of the area’s teams will play either Monday or Tuesday. St. Amant (24-2) hosts No. 31 Lafayette High at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Also in 5A, fourth-seeded Live Oak (22-5) hosts No. 29 Covington at 5 p.m. Tuesday. East Ascension (19-8), seeded No. 8, hosts No. 25 Sulphur at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. No. 6 Dutchtown (19-7) hosts No. 27 Ponchatoula and No. 7 Walker (20-8) hosts No. 26 Comeaux. Also set to host a game is No. 15 Denham Springs (17-10) vs. No. 18 Airline.
“It’s a testament to the strength of the schools in the Baton Rouge area,” St. Amant coach Scott Nielson said of the 5A seedings. “And to think, at one point the LHSAA considered putting the Ascension and Livingston Parish schools in the same district. That would have been brutal.
“Both the (Ascension) schools in our district (5-5A) and the (Livingston) schools from the other district (4-5A), Live Oak, Walker and Denham, all do a good job with their programs. Once the playoffs begin, you have to perform.”
Live Oak coach Michelle Morris and East Ascension coach Amy Pitre would love to see Baton Rouge’s title drought end this spring.
“I really hope this is the year somebody does it,” Morris said. “It seems like several of us have been right there knocking on the door. I really believe the group we have in 5A can represent the area well.”
“This is a different kind of year,” Pitre said. “You have some dominant pitchers, but there are also teams out there scoring runs. It (5A) race is wide open, and I think you’ve got a number of teams with a chance to win it.”
Teams from the New Orleans/bayou area claimed the top seeds in three classes. Hahnville (27-3) is the top 5A seed and hosts Dominican-New Orleans. Vandebilt Catholic (22-6) was seeded No. 1 in 4A a day after taking a 7-6 win over 2A power John Curtis-River Ridge.
Curtis (27-1) saw its 58-game winning streak end but is the No. 1 Class 2A seed. Ruston-based Cedar Creek (24-2) in 1A, Florien (23-4) in Class B and Hackberry in Class C are the other top seeds.
Class 1A Catholic-Pointe Coupee (19-6) is the Baton Rouge area’s next highest seed at No. 3, while No. 8 St. John (20-10) is also notable in 1A.
Lutcher (15-12, No. 9 seed) and Plaquemine (16-9, No. 15) are the top seeds from District 6-4A. Parkview Baptist (14-15), a team with its own string of runner-up finishes since 2006, is a No. 11 seed in 3A.
Livingston Parish-based Springfield (20-6) is the area’s highest seed in 2A. Holden (14-8, No. 20 in Class B) and Maurepas (No. 8 in Class C) are the other notable seeds.