Given the strength of the Lake Charles-area contingent from District 3-5A, Lafayette High veteran coach Sam Taulli plays the percentages when it comes to handicapping the league’s race.
“I think our district will be extremely competitive,” Taulli said. “I don’t see anybody going through undefeated. I think 10-2, 11-3 is probably going to win the thing.”
With a trip across town to face Comeaux, Lafayette opens its 14-game district schedule Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Of the four-team group of Lafayette-area schools the Lions (12-4) have enjoyed the most preseason success followed by Acadiana (8-7) which travels to Carencro (7-9) for a 4 p.m. game.
Top-ranked Sulphur (18-0) hosts defending Class 5A state champion Barbe (16-4), while Sam Houston (15-5) hosts New Iberia (7-6).
Lafayette completed a 3-1 showing in the Atchafalaya Challenge against the same four teams the Lions went 4-0 a week earlier in the Denham Springs tournament.
Center fielder Antoine Duplantis leads LHS with a .490 average and 14 extra-base hits with catcher Cain Castille batting .419. Emile Lege (2-2, 3.36 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Lions on the mound.
“We played well enough to win but there’s still room for improvement,” Taulli said. “I think our guys should be ready to play and realize the competition we’ll see in district will be very comparable to what we saw in pre-district.”
Cecilia awaits big test
Cecilia has won 10 of its first 12 games but realizes the test Teurlings Catholic (9-6) presents in the District 5-4A opener for both teams at 4 p.m.
“Right out the gate, Teurlings is a big challenge,” Cecilia coach Jamie Calais said. “I think our kids are up for the challenge. I think we’re focused and ready for it.”
St. Thomas More (8-8) is the reigning Class 4A state champion was ranked No. 1 to start the season followed by Teurlings.
With the nucleus a team back from a strong finish to the 2013 season — winners in five of its last six games — Cecilia is hopeful of pushing the aforementioned teams in pursuit of this year’s league title.
“Last year, we couldn’t find that consistency,” said Calais, whose team has won five straight games. “Our big thing this year was maintaining that consistency. We’re hitting the ball, getting some good and playing good defense.”
Bailey Lasseigne (4-0, 2.62) gets the start for Cecilia with designated hitter Cale Boudreaux (.457, 19 RBIs) and left fielder Chandler LeBouef (.448, 2 HRs, 18 RBIs) leading the team offensively.
Hanson off to hot start
Hanson coach Ryan Stoute believes his team’s 10-1 record represents one of the best starts for the program in recent memory.
The Franklin-based Tigers get the opportunity to parlay that hot start with the beginning of District 7-1A play when they visit Ascension Episcopal School (8-5) at 6 p.m.
“This is a wonderful start, something we haven’t seen here in a while, but it’s not a complete surprise,” Stoute said. “We’ve played to my expectations.”
Part of the reason for Stoute’s optimism centered on a group of five juniors who were starters as freshmen on Hanson’s state quarterfinal team in 2013.
Hanson won its first nine games before losing 8-0 to Class 1A state runner-up Sacred Heart-Ville Platte last weekend in Rayne’s tournament. The Tigers answered a day later with a 12-2 win over the host team.
Senior designated hitter Cameron Stovall (.475, 2 HRs, 10 2Bs) and catcher Brandon Bonin (.400) are Hanson’s top hitters, with senior Jacob Hebert (1-0, 1 save) the top pitcher.
“This district year in and year out’s as good as gets in 1A baseball,” Stoute said. “We know the district schedule is tough, and we’ve got two of the top teams this week (AES and Central Catholic), so we’re going to learn where we stand.”