Dutchtown faces No. 1 seed Barbe
Dutchtown High School has built a solid baseball reputation, that includes a state title in Class 4A, in just a decade.
The Griffins (27-9) are making their fourth appearance in the past five years at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 5A State Tournament. Coach Chris Schexnaydre’s team has won 12 in a row and 18 of its past 19 games.
Is Dutchtown hot enough to burn top-seeded Barbe-Lake Charles? The ninth-seeded Griffins are eager to find out. The quarterfinal game between the two schools is set for 1 p.m. Friday at Tulane’s Greer Field at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans.
“This has been a journey,” Schexnaydre said. “It started last year. We didn’t make the tournament and these guys were really focused on getting back in the tournament.
“They’re not satisfied with getting here. We feel like we can play with anybody. Barbe is a program that’s there every year and they feel the same way. Every year there are kids who do amazing things during this tournament. I just hope some of our guys are fortunate enough to experience that.”
Action begins at 10 a.m. with two Acadiana-area teams, sixth-seeded Lafayette High (23-11) taking on No. 14 Acadiana (21-13). At 4 p.m., Hahnville (24-12), seeded 15th, plays No. 10 Rummel (24-10). Defending champion Jesuit-New Orleans (26-7), a No. 5 seed, meets No. 5 C.E. Byrd-Shreveport (27-8) at 7 p.m. Semifinals are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday with the championship final set for 7 p.m.
A regional playoff loss to Baton Rouge area rival Denham Springs kept the Griffins at home last season. Barbe (30-6) is making its seventh straight tourney appearance. The Bucs, who have won 11 straight, seek their first state title since 2008. Dutchtown’s title in 4A came in 2004.
The teams played once already, with Barbe taking a 5-4 win on March 15 in a tournament game played at BHS. Though he has Ole Miss signee Jacob Waguespack (8-2) available, Schexnaydre is opting to go with another senior, Coastal Carolina signee Troy Lewis (3-0) instead. Barbe will counter with one of a trio of pitchers, Bryce Kingsley (10-1), Dalton Willige (5-0) or Gunner Lege (4-1). Willige and Leger are left-handers.
Third baseman Kennon Fontenot leads the Barbe offense with a .437 batting average, five home runs and 32 runs batted in. Shortstop Gavin Cecchini (.406, 7 HRs, 32 RBIs), the son of Barbe coach Glenn Cecchini, is also an Ole Miss signee and is projected as a high draft pick.
Dutchtown’s balanced offense is led by outfielder Mason Nickens, who is hitting .413 with one home run and 36 RBIs. Lewis (.374, 1 HR, 30 RBIs), first baseman Cole Stapler (.306, 5 HRs, 30 RBIs) are other leaders. Shortstop Robbie Podorsky (.512, 12 RBIs) has the top batting average.
“You’ve got eight teams who all have the same goal and they’re all quality teams,” Schexnaydre said. “I think any one of us is capable of winning it. It comes down to a two-day season now.
“It doesn’t matter how many games you’ve won before this. It’s who is the best team for the final two days of the season. We’re excited to have this chance.”