Before each game, the Brusly High baseball team walks down the street to Subway, where each player orders the same sandwich he ate the game before.
If it’s an away game, as soon as the Panthers load the team bus, senior Caleb Dupont walks down the aisle to high-five every single teammate.
When the team gets dressed, the Panthers make sure senior pitcher and shortstop Evan Daigle has his pants legs rolled up to the knees.
After every at-bat, the Panthers hand the bat the previous hitter used to Dupont so he can be the last one to touch it.
Brusly does this partly for superstitious reasons, but also because it’s a matter of consistency — because they hold the belief that if they do everything the exact same, it should yield the same result.
And for 19 of their 20 games this season, that result has been another notch in the win column.
“We just like to do things how we do it here,” Dupont said. “I mean, it’s been working so far, so why change it now?”
Their consistency off the field has spilled onto it, as well.
The Panthers don’t have any single, standout player on their lineup, mostly because the entire team produces strong numbers.
Four starters are hitting above .400 this season, with a team batting average of .376. Even the lowest average among starters is still well above .300.
Dupont and Daigle head the offense with averages of .472 and .441, respectively, with Daigle recording a team-high 26 hits and 23 RBIs.
“Confidence is a big thing when we go out there,” Daigle said. “We know we can play with anybody, and we go in thinking we’re going to beat everyone.”
The same goes for Brusly’s pitching rotation, which coach Tait Dupont called the strength of the team.
The Panthers have a steady starting rotation of about four pitchers and another two to three players waiting in the bullpen. If that isn’t enough, the coaching staff works out close to a dozen other players at pitcher during practice.
Daigle leads the starters with a 1.71 ERA, while the overall team holds a 2.41 ERA. Senior Tod Gauthe leads with 37 strikeouts.
“When you go out there, you know you’re going to get (that pitcher’s) best performance,” Gauthe said. “With all of us being good, we know it’s going to kind of spread (out the pressure).”
It isn’t a stretch to call this season the best in Brusly history. It’s quickly becoming fact.
With more than a month left to play, the Panthers are already within reach of the school record for wins in a single season. They have one of the best records in the state, including the most wins of any program in any of Louisiana’s seven classifications.
The only blemish on their schedule is a 5-3 loss to Central Catholic — one of the top teams in Class 1A and a team they beat earlier in the season — and they responded to that by outscoring opponents 30-8 in the three games since.
Brusly faces its toughest tests of the season so far when it hosts three 5A programs in the next week, including East Ascension, Live Oak and Zachary in the next week.
The Spartans are next up with a 6:30 p.m. game on Thursday.
“We thought we were going to be good this year, but 19-1, no matter who you’re playing, that’s pretty exceptional,” Tait Dupont said.
“We haven’t changed anything we’ve been doing and it’s pretty much the same schedule we’ve been playing since I became head coach. For whatever reason, this group of kids have gelled together and we’re playing good baseball.”