Sloan Dieter power Barbe past Covington

LAKE CHARLES — Sloan Dieter powered defending state champion Barbe back to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 5A state tournament with a one-hit 4-0 shutout over Covington in a Class 5A regional round game.

The Bucs (33-3) will play West Monroe, which advanced with an 8-0 win over Haughton, in the quarterfinals Friday at Tulane in New Orleans.

Dieter also hit a home run and drove in three runs. The senior, in his first year at Barbe, won a 1A state tournament as a sophomore at St. Mary’s in Natchitoches. Now he will have a crack at winning one on the state’s biggest stage.

Covington (26-7) had only three baserunners, none in the final four innings.

“The fastball was working; they couldn’t catch up to it,” Dieter said. “I kept pounding in there and mixing in a few curve balls here and there. I lived on the fastball, just stayed with it until they proved they could hit it.”

At the plate, Dieter drove in Barbe’s first run on a fielder’s ground ball, then laced an opposite-field two-run homer in right to cap the scoring in the fifth. Beau Jordan blasted a solo homer to left earlier in the inning.

“(Covington pitcher John Schaeffer) was banging us on low pitches and his curve ball was pretty good,” Dieter said. “The first fastball I saw, I took a rip at. It was low and away and I took it away to right field.”

Schaeffer held Barbe hitless over the first four innings and struck out seven in a complete game.

“I thought our guy did an outstanding job,” said Covington coach Jeff Dragg. “He pitched very well, in my opinion he made just one mistake, on the solo home run. The other one, the guy just did an outstanding job, the ball outside, just off the corner, he went out there and got it.”

Dragg said Dieter did not do anything surprising.

“He did what I expected, pounded the strike zone, threw the fastball and curve ball over,” he said.

To me his best attribute was that when he needed to make a pitch, he made a pitch. The first inning we hit a ball to the wall, that’s a ball we just missed. If we get it, its 2-0. Another time, we took a good swing and hit a ball to center field with men on first and second, just missed it. That’s the difference in ball games, their two balls, they hit home runs and we don’t. There was no intimidation, we came and played. I thought we handled the situation well.”