District 7-3A has already produced state championship teams in football and boys basketball. Could baseball be next?
Four District 7-3A teams made the Class 3A baseball playoff quarterfinals in 2014. University and Brusly were semifinalists last season, and Parkview Baptist was the 2013 Class 3A champion.
No. 5 Parkview Baptist, No. 7 Brusly, No. 9 University and No. 14 West Feliciana, all of District 7-3A, combined to outscore their bidistrict playoff opponents 35-2. Brusly and West Feliciana led the way with 11 runs each, while University had 10.
No. 12 St. Louis (17-15) travels to Parkview (20-12) and West Feliciana (15-13) is at No. 3 Iowa (20-8) in 6 p.m. Class 3A regional games Tuesday. Brusly (23-9) entertains No. 10 North Vermilion (23-5) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. University (20-11) is at No. 8 E.D. White (25-5) at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“District 7-3A is an extremely tough district,” West Feliciana coach Mark Lester said. “This year, the top four teams had talented pitchers. Every district game was a battle.”
Parkview won district with an 8-2 record. Brusly and University were 7-3 and WFHS was 6-4.
Brusly will start senior right-hander Austin Wreich (7-3, 2.61 ERA, 80 strikeouts). Trey Morgan (4-1 in district) gets the start for WFHS. University coach Justin Morgan said either Jacob McCain (5-4, 3.04 ERA) or Manny Miles (5-1, 2.75 ERA) will get the start.
“The strength of our team is our pitching and defense,” said Brusly coach Tait Dupont, who has led his team to the semifinals the past two seasons.
Junior shortstop Evan Daigle (.405, 13 doubles, 4 HR, 34 RBIs), senior third baseman Austin Watts (.423, 10 doubles, 31 RBIs) senior centerfielder Jake Dunn (.352, 21 RBIs, team-high 30 runs scored) are Brusly offensive leaders.
University coach Justin Morgan often starts six or seven seniors. Included in that group are catcher Matt LaSalle, designated hitter Hudson Eglin, McCain, Miles, shortstop Jake Wharton, right fielder Will Keller and utility player Chandler Stobbs. Many of the seniors were key contributors to University’s 2013 Class 2A baseball runner-up team.
“E.D. White has good pitchers and their entire lineup can bunt,” Morgan said. “We need to get their leadoff guy out. We need to be efficient on offense.”
Lester said Iowa is a quality team.
“They’re quick on the bases and play a lot of small ball,” Lester said. “We want to put offensive pressure on them and attack. We want to score early and often.”
Morgan (.450), Ryan Reed (.430) and Gage Tygres (.490) lead the Saints offensively. Center fielder Tygres and right fielder Jazz Ferguson give WFHS speed in the outfield.
“I really like the way we’re coming together as a team,” Lester said.