And now the number is three.
Three Baton Rouge Metro area teams are headed to different Louisiana High School Athletic Association state baseball tournaments on Friday looking to garner state titles.
Top-seeded Family Christian Academy (21-8) in Class C, No. 6 Dunham (25-7) in Class 2A and eighth-seeded Dutchtown High (27-9) make up a smaller than usual tourney contingent. In 2011, nine Metro teams played in LHSAA tournaments.
Two of the three were state tourney teams last season. The Dunham School lost to Shreveport’s Evangel Christian, 11-10, in a semifinal in Shreveport.
This time around the Tigers meet another Shreveport team, seventh-seeded Calvary Baptist (15-14), at 4 p.m. Friday at Louisiana Tech’s J.C. Love Field.
Family Christian lost 10-9 to Hicks in the Class C final in Alexandria. The Flames meet No. 4 Elizabeth (23-5) in a Class C semifinal set for 1 p.m. Friday at Sulphur’s McMurry Park.
Dutchtown missed the Class 5A tourney last year, but will be making its fourth tourney appearance in five years. The Griffins meet Lake Charles-based Barbe (30-6), the No. 1 seed, in a quarterfinal at 1 p.m. in New Orleans at Tulane’s Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
“The bottom line is this ... it’s the next game on the schedule,” Dunham coach Joey Thibodeaux said. “You’re just going to a different location to play it.”
Herd’s swan song
Family Christian is making its fifth state tourney appearance in Robin Herd’s 10 seasons as head coach. It will also mark Herd’s final weekend as head coach.
Assistant coach Rick Smith, who was previously the head coach at Bethany Christian, is set to take over as head coach next year. That will allow Herd to devote more time to his duties as minister of music for Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.
“Rick is great coach, and this is definitely the right time,” Herd said. “I have a big job with the church, and this will give me a chance to focus on that.
“Baseball has also been a calling for me, but my first calling is music.”
Take three for Lewis
Dutchtown High pitcher-infielder Troy Lewis will play in his third 5A tourney for the Griffins. The Coastal Carolina signee was part of the DHS team that finished as the 5A runner-up to Northshore-Slidell and 2009.
Lewis is one of 10 Griffins seniors. Ole Miss signee Jacob Waguespack (pitcher-infielder), infielder Connor Bourque and outfielder Lucas Shipman are the other seniors penciled into regular roles.
“It was important for us to make it back for all the seniors,” Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre said. “They don’t all get to play in the field every day, and some of them don’t get a lot of playing time. I call them program players. They do whatever we ask, and they provide leadership.”
Teaming with effort
When Dunham’s Thibodeaux calls the Tigers’ 2012 season a total team effort, he’s not just offering lip service.
“Last year people thought of us as being a little top heavy with the two guys who signed with LSU — Tyler (Moore) and Aaron (Johnson),” Thibodeaux said. “This year I can honestly say all 21 players have contributed on the field in some way.
“Some guys have been pinch runners. Others have played defense or pinch hit. I never had a team quite like this before. It’s special.”
McMurry-Sulphur hosts 4
Sulphur’s McMurry Park will host four of the seven LHSAA tourneys this weekend, marking the first time one site has hosted more than three.
It is also the first time Sulphur has hosted a state baseball tourney, though the city located just outside Lake Charles has been a long time host for the LHSAA’s state softball and swimming events.
The McMurry complex features more than one field with artificial turf. Games for Class 4A, 3A, B and C will be played there.
Louisiana’s Love Field was the host of the 4A-3A tourney the past two years and will now host Class 1A-2A.
The shift of the tournaments to different sites leaves Alexandria without an LHSAA baseball tournament for the first time since 1983. Alexandria was the long time host of a combined 1A, B and C tourney and had most recently hosted B and C teams.
Dunham seeks its first win over Calvary. The Tigers lost to the Cavaliers in the 1A semifinals in 2007 and in the 2A playoffs in 2008 and 2009.
Family Christian has never won a state baseball title, but was the runner-up in 2009 and 2011.
Friday’s game marks the second time that Barbe and Dutchtown have played this season. The Bucs, who are making their seventh straight tourney appearance, beat the Griffins in Lake Charles on March 15.