Red-hot Rummel beats Covington, Northshore in tournament _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Covington's Trace Rainey, right, slides safely into second base ahead of the tag of Rummel's Scott Wetzel after Rummel right fielder Tyler Neece dropped his fly ball in the fourth inning Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Covington.

Now the games really count.

While many high school baseball teams began district play Tuesday, the Catholic League will begin district play Wednesday.

Three games are on schedule for Wednesday:

Like always, coaches in the league are expecting the league to be balanced. All six teams in the district have a record of .500 or above heading into district play.

Brother Martin (12-6) plays Rummel (10-9) at Kirsch-Rooney at 4 p.m.; Shaw (10-5) plays at Holy Cross (11-8) at 4:30 p.m.; and Jesuit (15-4) plays St. Augustine (6-6) at RBI Field at 6 p.m.

“The league is going to be very tough this year,” Holy Cross coach Greg Battistella said. “Jesuit has the class of the group. But everybody’s got a good club. Shaw is competitive. (Brother Martin) has one of the best pitchers in the district. Rummel is always tough and competitive, and St. Aug is always promising with the athletes and team speed to make the game interesting.”

Rummel comes in as one of the hottest teams, winning five straight games last week.

“I think, top to bottom, the league is going to be as strong as it’s ever been,” Jesuit coach Joey Latino said. “Certainly every time you start district play, the intensity level rises a little bit. We anticipate that starting Wednesday.”

Valdin to serve as trainer

Former Hahnville football coach Lou Valdin is taking a leading role within USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, promoting a better and safer game for youth and high school levels nationwide.

Valdin and 26 other football experts from 15 states were trained by USA Football during a workshop this past weekend in Indianapolis.

They will join 70 other Master Trainers to instruct youth leagues in their regions on Heads Up Football principles.

“The health and safety of every youth and high school football player is our No. 1 priority,” said Scott Hallenbeck, executive director of USA Football. “We are proud to have this group assist us in leading America’s youth and high school football community as USA Football Master Trainers. With direction and endorsements from experts in medicine and sport, we are committed to set important standards rooted in education for the benefit of our young athletes.”

A physical education teacher at Norco Elementary School, Valdin was 152-60 as a high school coach, winning eight district championships and one state championship at Hahnville. He coached at the high school level for 34 years. An eight-time coach of the year recipient, Valdin’s teams reached the playoffs in 17 of his 18 seasons as head coach.

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is a comprehensive approach to better and safer play, encompassing USA Football’s nationally accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course; in-person training of Heads Up Tackling techniques; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concussion recognition and response; heat and hydration protocols; instruction on proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting. USA Football just added Heads Up Blocking techniques and sudden cardiac arrest protocols to the program for 2015.

More than 5,500 youth leagues and 750 high schools participated in the program in 2014, benefitting nearly 1 million players.

Allstate Sugar Bowl Meet set

The Allstate Sugar Bowl Track & Field Classic will take place Friday and Saturday at Tad Gormley Stadium, with more than 2,000 entries slated for the two-day.

Since 1993, this event has been the largest high school track and field invitational in Louisiana, featuring more than 100 boys and girls teams from throughout the Southeast.

Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas will be represented at the meet.

Admission is $5 per day while children 12 and under may enter free of charge.