One of the predictable things about high school baseball is the clichés.
Walker coach Randy Sandifer said, “I’ve been in it long enough to know that you shouldn’t over-think it. Baseball’s a game, and you’ve just got play it.”
“They’re all big games,” University High coach Justin Morgan added.
Saturday’s high school baseball schedule is anything but a cliché, even though you could call it “Super Saturday.”
Four key games help highlight the schedule. Walker (14-9, 4-0) fresh off an impressive 8-1 win over Denham Springs on Thursday, hosts Zachary (16-10, 4-0) at 1 p.m. to headline District 4-5A play.
In District 5-5A, Catholic High (21-4, 4-0) takes a 16-game winning streak into its 2 p.m. game at St. Amant (13-10, 3-1).
The 6-3A schedule includes two notable showdowns. U-High (17-8, 4-0) plays at Brusly (26-2, 4-0) at 1:30 p.m., while Parkview Baptist (11-10, 4-0) hosts West Feliciana (18-4, 4-0) at 4 p.m.
Sandifer said his team is the unlikely frontrunner. Zachary, Denham Springs and Live Oak were considered the favorites. The Wildcats lost their final predistrict game to Franklinton.
“We’ve hit the ball pretty well all year,” Sandifer said. “We’ve gotten some breaks lately, like an extra hit that scored two more runs in an inning or a ball down the line that was fair instead of foul.
“I’ve been competing against Zachary and Jesse (Cassard, ZHS coach) for a long time. They’re not going to beat themselves. We’re going to have to continue to execute.”
Mason Lockhart (2-2) gets the start against Zachary. Outfielder Kyle Nevels (.370) and third baseman Jacob Ard (.360) are the top hitters for the Wildcats.
St. Amant coach Troy Templet acknowledged his team has had ups and downs. Hosting a hot Catholic team continues a crucial portion of the Gators’ 5-5A schedule.
LSU commitment Blayne Enlow (1-3) gets the start for St. Amant. Outfielder Zane Zeppuhar (.378), third baseman Ivan Prejean (.358) and shortstop Adam Sevario (.353) are top Gators hitters.
“It’s always a great game and a rivalry when we play them,” Templet said of Catholic. “We’ve gotten better over the last few games and need to continue working to be better.
“Right now, they’re one of the hottest teams in the state. Blayne has pitched against some tough opponents and has really only had one bad outing. Now is when we need to start putting things together.”
Brusly is the area’s other white-hot team. Some baseball experts consider the Panthers to be one of the top teams in any classification. Morgan’s U-High team, which features six new starters, recently saw its 12-game win streak snapped.
Brooks Southall (3-1, .395 batting average) is expected to get the start for UHS. Center fielder Seth Daughterty (.425) and second baseman Josh Becnel (.400) are other leaders.
“They’ve got a big edge on us in terms of experience,” Morgan said. “We have matured during the year, and this is a key test for us.”
Parkview is typically not cast in the role of the underdog. The Eagles took their lumps during a tough nondistrict schedule, a move coach Darron Mitchell hopes pays off now.
Patrick Hart is set to start for PBS on the mound. Shortstop Sam O’Brien (.350), first baseman Wes Anderson (.330) and second baseman Logan Toups (.310) are the top hitters.
“West Feliciana is playing with a lot confidence and swagger right now,” Mitchell said. “They’ve got one of the best players in the state, I think, in Trey Morgan.
??I also think we’ve done everything we could nondistrict wise to get ready for games like this. Now it comes down to can you pitch it, hit it and catch it.”