Two District 5-5A rivals cast in underdog roles, Catholic High and East Ascension, step into the spotlight when they host high-profile playoff opponents on Monday.
Catholic (23-12), a No. 17 seed, hosts No. 1 Barbe-Lake Charles (29-6) at 4 p.m. Meanwhile, 30th-seeded East Ascension (18-17) hosts No. 14 Acadiana (20-13) at 5 p.m.
The two Class 5A regional games and a Class 3A quarterfinal are the only local games played in the Baton Rouge area as top-seeded Parkview Baptist (27-6) hosts Loranger (26-4) at 6 p.m.
“I’ve never seen our guys this excited about playing a game,” first-year Catholic coach Brad Bass said. “It’s challenge to be sure. But all year long we’ve tried to worry about what going on in our dugout and not as much about who we’re playing.
“We did play them (Barbe) earlier this year and lost 5-2 playing without some guys who were injured. Those guys are back now and our goal all year was to make the state tournament.”
Grant Borne (8-1) gets the start for the Bears, who face a Barbe team led by shortstop Gavin Cecchini, considered to be one of the state’s top players.
Outfielders Hunter Shows (.415) and Kevin Lindsey (.400) are the top hitters for Catholic.
Like Bass, EAHS coach Mike Toups sees his team’s game against Acadiana is major opportunity. Both teams are playing for a berth in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 5A tournament in New Orleans.
“I’ve talked to people who haven’t come to a game in a few years who are planning to be here,” Toups said. “That’s what we need to bring some of he excitement back for this program.
“We’ve had some ups and downs. We’re facing a program in Acadiana that’s used to being at the state tournament every year. That’s where we want to be.”
Tyler Robertson (4-4) gets the start for the Spartans, who are led offensively by outfielders Chase Rivet (.365) and Hayden Fenley (.350). Acadiana’s top player is Stryker Trahan, who is considered to be one of the top catcher prospects in the nation.
Parkview can advance to the LHSAA’s 3A tourney in Sulphur.
“Loranger is a very good team that has won a lot of games,” PBS coach Darron Mitchell said. “And it’s hard to compare them to anybody we’ve played, because they are a different than a lot of teams we play.
“They have three or four solid hitters they rely on and a very good left-hander on the mound. My guys have played so relaxed all year. They’re looking forward to it.”
Four other local teams look to advance to LHSAA by winning road games on Monday.
That group is led by Class 5A Dutchtown and Denham Springs. Ninth-seeded Dutchtown (26-9) travels to Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in New Orleans to play No. 8 Brother Martin (22-9) at 6 p.m. Denham Springs (24-11), seeded 11th, plays at No. 6 Lafayette (22-11) at 4 p.m.
In Class 3A, defending champion Livonia (27-3) travels to No. 11 North DeSoto (22-9) for a 5 p.m. quarterfinal. Livonia is the No. 3 seed.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Runnels (18-13) looks to join District 7-2A rival Dunham in the field of teams headed to Ruston for the LHSAA’s Class 2A-1A tournament. The Raiders travel to Shreveport to play top-seeded Evangel Christian (23-5) at 6 p.m.