When The Dunham School hosts District 7-2A rival University High in a Class 2A quarterfinal game at 3 p.m. Saturday, it’s almost a win-win situation.
There’s a chance for a large crowd and an electric atmosphere. And the winner advances to next weekend’s Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 1A-2A tournament in Ruston.
The downside? There can be only one winner. The two coaches, Dunham’s Joey Thibodeaux and U-High’s Burke Broussard, relish the opportunity.
“If you had asked me in January what I’d think about playing U-High in the quarterfinals, I would have taken it,” Thibodeaux said. “U-High has got to be happy because they don’t have to travel far. And if you’re a fan of local teams and wanting to see somebody advance, this is about as good as it gets. I expect it to go right down to the final out.”
The UHS-Dunham game helps highlight a Saturday schedule that includes a regional-round game for No. 2-seeded Zachary in 5A and a quarterfinal game for top-seeded Family Christian in Class C.
UHS and Dunham split their games in district. Dunham (24-7) beat the Cubs 11-1 in the first round of district; University won the second game, 4-2.
“This one is the rubber match,” Broussard said. “We’ve won something like 10 of our last 12 to get to this point, and we’re excited about playing Dunham again. The kids all know each other. Somebody will get to go to the tournament.”
Hayes Stewart leads U-High with .437 batting average, while Steven Sensley has a team-high 28 runs batted in. The Cubs will start David Baker (5-3) on the mound. Gino Marucci was 3-for-5 with a two-run home run in UHS’ 8-6 win over Catholic-New Iberia in Wednesday’s regional round.
Dunham will counter with Ryan Mockler (8-2). Bryce Adams is hitting .410 to lead the Tigers. Both Adams and John Baker (.382) have 35 RBIs.
Other Saturday games
Zachary (27-7) hosts Hahnville (23-12) at 2 p.m. at Zachary Youth Park with a berth in the 5A tourney on the line. The Broncos defeated Mandeville, 6-0, to open the playoffs.
Family Christian (21-8) also hosts Calvin at 2 p.m. The Flames ousted Starks, 17-0, in the regional round.
Three other regional games involving local 5A teams are scheduled for Monday. Catholic High (23-12) hosts top-seeded Barbe-Lake Charles (29-6) 4 p.m. East Ascension (18-17), a No. 30 seed, hosts Acadiana (20-13) at 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, Denham Springs (24-11) travels to Lafayette (22-11) for 4 p.m. game.
Top-seeded Parkview Baptist and defending state champion Livonia play 3A quarterfinals Monday. PBS (27-6) hosts Loranger (26-4) at 6 p.m. Livonia (27-3) travels to North DeSoto (22-9) for a 5 p.m. game.
Another 7-2A team, Runnels (18-13), plays on the road Monday. The Raiders travel to Shreveport to take on top-seeded Evangel Christian (23-5) in a quarterfinal game.