With a 19-4 record, Runnels has soared to new heights in Class 2A baseball.
The Raiders were the No. 1 team in the 2A power rankings last week before settling into the No. 2 spot when the LHSAA released its baseball playoff pairings for Class 3A and below on Tuesday.
Coach Tookie Johnson is stressing keeping the wins and seeding position into perspective as Runnels prepares to host No. 31 Many (14-13) at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s exciting because this is the highest we’ve finished in the power rankings since 2008,” Johnson said. “It is a great accomplishment for this team. But I’ve been reminding them that Many did something right to get in the playoffs. You can’t count them out.”
The Raiders were part of a District 7-2A swap at the top of the 2A rankings. Doyle and Runnels split their games last week, giving the Tigers (20-5) the No. 1 seed. Doyle hosts No. 32 Winnfield (9-13) at 5 p.m. Friday.
Another 7-2A team, Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas (19-9), got the No. 5 seed. Teams in Class 3A and below have until Saturday to compete firsty
“We looked at it and kind of figured it would fall that way,” Doyle coach Tim Beatty said. “But of course now you have to go play. We’ve worked hard the three years I’ve been here to get to this point so the kids are excited.”
Runnels was the No. 1 seed in Class B in 2008 and went on to win a state title that year. Parkview Baptist (19-12), most recently the 3A champion in 2013, claimed the No. 5 seed to lead the local 3A group. The Eagles host No. 28 Albany (13-16). Brusly (22-9) at No. 7 and University High (19-11) at No. 9 also lead the 3A group.
No team in District 6-2A made it into the top 16. Redemptorist (14-14), seeded 19th, leads the 6-2A group and travels to Archbishop Hannan for a 6 p.m. Thursday game. St. John-Plaquemine (ninth) and Christian Life (10th) are the area’s top 1A teams, while Maurepas of Class B and Family Christian of Class C each claimed a fifth seed in their classifications.
Seventh-seeded Denham Springs (22-7) moved its Class 5A first-round game back a day based on field conditions. The Yellow Jackets will host No. 26 Northshore (21-10) at 6 p.m. Wednesday at North Park.
Playing the first-round game a day later will likely push back the winner’s best-of-three-games second-round series to Saturday-Sunday. Though the LHSAA’s schedule says best-of-three series are to begin Friday, Assistant Executive Director B.J. Guzzardo said the schedule is day-to-day.
“As long as the teams agree, they can play Saturday-Sunday,” Guzzardo said. “If one team doesn’t agree, then they’ll have to play Friday-Saturday.”
No. 22 Plaquemine (15-10) at No. 11 Cecilia (19-6) in Class 4A was postponed until 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Southern Lab forfeits
The LHSAA released the baseball sanctions against Southern Lab along with its playoff pairings on Tuesday. The Class 1A Kittens were cited for using an ineligible player who did not meet the LHSAA’s transfer rules.
The school was fined $400 and ordered to forfeit games with Varnado, Peabody and Madison Prep. SLHS made the 1A playoffs as a No. 28 seed.