The late Earl Weaver said pitching and three-run homers were the key to success for his Baltimore Orioles teams. For high school teams set for play quarterfinal playoff series this weekend, only half Weaver’s formula rings true.
Pitching and defense are pivotal for the 15 Baton Rouge area teams set to play best-of-three series this weekend.
“It’s no secret that pitching is our strength. I would put our arms up against just about anyone in the state,” Doyle coach Tim Beatty said. “The guys we have are experienced and have pitched in a lot of big games."
The top-seeded Tigers of Class 2A host Lake Charles area power, No. 8 Kinder, this weekend after having throwing two perfect games to date in the playoffs. Andrew Yuratich, Logan Turner and Braden McLin combined on the first one. Yuratich (8-3) had 17 strikeouts and broke the school’s career record for strikeouts in the other.
Certainly not to be overlooked was another perfect game. Ryan Harland struck out 19 in a a perfect Game 2 win over Haynes Academy in Division II select action for unbeaten Parkview Baptist.
Also of note, the Ascension Catholic trio of Baylor Leonard, Kaleb Reddick and Brooks Leonard combined for a no-hitter in a 12-1 win over St. Martin's.
Defense and pitching were crucial for Central, which won an if-necessary game Sunday to advance to the 5A quarterfinals.
In the first two innings of Sunday’s game the Wildcats snuffed out scoring threats, throwing out a runner at home on a ball hit to the infield in the first inning. Central caught a baserunner in a rundown between third and home in the second inning of a 5-4 win at Ruston.
“Our defense really gave us a lift,” Central coach Leo McClure said. “If we had given up runs there, we might have been in real trouble.”
My rival, my mentor
Figuring out what makes a top program or a well-known coach successful can be a struggle for some. Going into its weekend series at second-seeded West Monroe, 10th-seeded Dutchtown has a good idea what expect along with a talented lineup.
Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre played for WMHS coach Wade Simoneaux’s Gonzales-based American Legion power in 1990-91.
Simoneaux was an assistant coach at East Ascension and then started the Episcopal program before moving to the college ranks at UL and Louisiana Tech.
“Wade coached me and I got to know his family, especially his parents, and they were fine people,” Schexnaydre said. “He is a mentor for me.
“They have talented players up and down the lineup. I am so proud of this group and how they have come together to pull for each other. We have been believers in our pitching all year. We will see how far that takes us.”
Local quarterfinal series
No. 12 Central at No. 4 Sam Houston, 6 p.m. Friday; noon and 3 p.m. (if necessary)
No. 19 New Iberia at No. 6 Walker, 6 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 10 Dutchtown at No. 2 West Monroe, 6 p.m. Friday; noon and 3 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 6 West Feliciana at No. 3 Lutcher, 6 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 7 Brusly at No. 2 South Beauregard, 6 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 8 Kinder at No. 1 Doyle, 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (if necessary) Saturday.
No. 6 Springfield at No. 3 Mangham, 5:30 p.m. Friday; 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 12 St. Paul’s at No. 4 Catholic, 6 p.m. Thursday, 6 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. (if necessary) Saturday
No. 8 E.D. White Catholic at No. 1 Parkview Baptist, 5 p.m. Friday; 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 5 Teurlings Catholic at No. 4 University, 6 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 10 St. Michael at No. 2 St. Louis Catholic, 6 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 7 The Dunham School at No. 2 St. Charles Catholic, 4:30 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday
No. 5 Catholic-PC at No. 4 St. Mary’s-Natchitoches, 6 p.m. Thursday; 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (if necessary), Friday
No. 11 Central Private at No. 3 Calvary Baptist, 6 p.m. Friday; noon and 3 p.m. (if necessary) Saturday
No. 7 Opelousas Catholic at No. 2 Ascension Catholic at Regira Field-Donaldsonville, 6 p.m. Thursday; 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (if necessary), Saturday