Referring to the playoffs as a whole new ballgame is nothing new for high school baseball coaches.
What happens when a team pulls off a first-round upset and the next ballgame turns into ballgames? St. Amant and Livonia are ready to find out.
“Our issue this year has been staying consistent,” St. Amant coach Troy Templet said. “We’ve been up and down. Last night, we got a solid pitching performance and scored runs to win on the road. (St. Amant players) seem excited about taking this next step, and we’ll see where we go with it.”
The Gators (17-12), the No. 24 seed, travel to New Orleans for a best-of-three games series with eighth-seeded Brother Martin (18-7). The first game is set for 6 p.m. Friday at Wesley Barrow/RBI Stadium located near UNO.
Saturday’s second game is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the if necessary game to follow at 4 p.m. St. Amant advanced to the 5A semifinals in 2014 by weaving its way through best-of-three series along the way.
Friday’s 4:30 p.m. Class 4A Game 1 at top-seeded Teurlings Catholic (27-4) in Lafayette is uncharted territory for No. 16 Livonia (16-6-1). The second game is set for noon Saturday, with the if necessary game to follow.
“One of the things that makes high school baseball exciting is the chance for upsets,” Livonia coach Jason Lemoine said. “We can attest to that. For several years when we were in 3A we were one of the teams pulling upsets, including one time when we were a No. 9 seed.
“I know the idea behind the best-of-three series is to limit the chances of that. I am intrigued to see how it goes. I know it definitely means you have to be ready to play steady, consistent baseball over a two-day period. That’s something we know Teurlings can do.”
Livonia moved up to the 4A ranks for the first time this year. The Wildcats were the 3A state champions in 2011. After what Lemoine called a couple of “lean years,” Livonia looks to re-establish itself.
LHS played second-seeded St. Michael to a 1-1 tie before darkness ended their one District 6-4A meeting. Hunter Savoie, who pitched against St. Michael, gets the start on Friday.
LSU football commitment Patrick Queen plays left field and is hitting .385 for the Wildcats. Center field Christian Edwards (.366) and infielder Brady Barlow (.357, 24 RBIs) are other leaders for Livonia.
Templet isn’t sure who he’ll start. LSU commitment Blayne Enlow pitched in the Gators’ 10-3 win over No. 9 Sam Houston on Tuesday. Tyler Tidwell (3-3) and Jacob Spell (3-3) are two of the options.
Third baseman Ivan Prejean is hitting .380 to lead St. Amant. Right fielder Zane Zeppuhar (.375) and shortstop Adam Sevario (.367) are other leaders.
“Brother Martin has three really good arms,” Templet said. “I believe those guys have 16 or 17 wins between them. Brother Martin is going to be steady. They’ll pitch well, and normally don’t beat themselves.
“This is going to be another challenge for us. All we can do is see how it plays out.”