The baseball season is a long one, and high schools are beginning to enter into the next phase — district play.
Having just reached the halfway point of its season, St. Michael the Archangel will host District 6-4A rival Plaquemine at 4 p.m. Tuesday in both schools’ league opener.
St. Michael (12-5) holds the No. 6 spot in the Class 4A state poll; Plaquemine (8-2) is unranked.
Warriors coach Johnny Bernhard said he isn’t looking past a Devils squad that pushed St. Michael to the limit in both meetings last season.
“(Plaquemine) is a scrappy team,” Bernhard said. “They’re going to compete; they’re not going to back down. They’re not going to make a lot of mistakes. They’re a team that is not going to beat themselves. They’re well-coached, the kids play hard, and we’re expecting their best effort again this year. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
St. Michael hit a rough patch earlier this month, with all five of its losses in a seven-game span before hitting its current four-game win streak.
Much of the Warriors’ success has stemmed from the efforts of senior starting pitcher James Smith, who will take the mound again Tuesday hoping to extend his club’s winning streak.
“He’s done what you would hope a front-line senior pitcher would do,” Bernhard said of his right-hander, who has beaten Class 5A powerhouses like Catholic High and East Ascension this season. “He’s been a big leader for us. He’s stepped up and pitched in some big games.
“We feel good when he’s got the ball on the mound. The team kind of rallies around James, and we’re looking forward for more from him the rest of the year.”
Plaquemine coach Scott Allen hasn’t named a starter for Tuesday’s game, but Allen said whomever he chooses will have to pitch well.
The Devils pitching staff has been solid as a whole, posting three shutouts this season and holding opponents to four runs or fewer in seven games. Teams have had to work for their runs, as the Plaquemine staff has combined to surrender 11 total walks this year.
“Up to this point, we haven’t played anybody to the caliber of St. Michael, so we’re kind of interested to see how we’ll do,” Allen said. “We don’t really know who we’re going to start.
“We have four average pitchers. Traditionally, what I like is a kid that throws strikes and plays good defense and can push some runs across.”
St. Michael averages nearly eight runs per game, while Plaquemine gives up less than three.
The two schools will meet for Round 2 of the home-and-away district matchup Thursday in Plaquemine.
A good chance of rain has prompted Broadmoor to move its Bat Gourrier Relays track meet from Thursday to Wednesday.
Field events will now begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday, followed by running events at 5:30 p.m. Entries must be emailed by 9 a.m. Wednesday.
For more information, call Alan Brown at (225) 772-7819 or Elliot Wilkins at (225) 772-6094.