U-High, Runnels meet in 7-2A showdown

Advocate file photo by LIBBY ISENHOWERUniversity High's baseball coach Burke Broussard cheers on his team from the dugout last season. Show caption
Advocate file photo by LIBBY ISENHOWERUniversity High's baseball coach Burke Broussard cheers on his team from the dugout last season.

With three teams ranked in Class 2A’s top 10, University High baseball coach Burke Broussard said the competition within District 7-2A may rival that of a mini version of the Southeastern Conference.

“It says a lot for our district to have three teams in the top 10,” Broussard said. “Getting out of district is always tough, and you could win it with three losses.”

No. 2 U-High (17-4) emerged from the first week of league play unscathed and puts its 2-0 mark on the line at home against No. 8 Runnels (10-8, 1-1) at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

No. 6 Dunham (15-8, 1-1) hosts Northeast at 5, while Redemptorist (11-6, 2-0) entertains Episcopal (3-15, 0-2) at 6:30.

U-High has reeled off five wins in its past six games, including a sweep of Episcopal last week.

The Cubs experienced the gamut against the Knights, riding the no-hit pitching effort of sophomore Manny Miles to a 10-0 win before turning around two days later to squeeze out a 9-8 win.

Miles (5-0, 0.24 ERA) has allowed only one earned run in five starts and opposes Runnels ace and LSU signee Alden Cartwright (3-2, 2.72, 74 Ks).

Center fielder Gino Marucci (.595, two HRs, 26 RBIs) is one of five starters batting over .400, along with right fielder and LSU-Eunice signee Steven Sensley (.491, seven HRs, 29 RBIS), first baseman Jake Wharton (.429, three HRs, 18 RBIs), catcher James Kern (.424, 18 RBIs) and second baseman Brandt Broussard (.417, 26 runs).

Runnels, which split with Dunham last week, relies on third baseman and Northwestern State signee Josh Morris (.403, three HRs) with production from both catcher Bobby Johnson (.383, 23 RBIs) and shortstop Johnny Johnson (.346).

“You don’t really get much of a break in this district,” Runnels coach Tookie Johnson said. “The district as a whole has always been tough, and it’s tough again this year. We’re all pretty evenly matched up, and it depends on who shows up that day.”

ST. CHARLES-BRUSLY: The main objective of a District 7-3A title may have taken a hit when
No. 4 Brusly was swept by No. 1 E.D. White to open league play.

Since then, the Panthers
(16-4, 2-2) have rebounded with three straight wins — a district sweep of St. James and an 8-2 nondistrict win over Dunham — heading into Tuesday’s 4 p.m. home game with No. 10 and
district co-leader St. Charles Catholic (11-10, 4-0)

“After the E.D. White games, we had 13 games left,” Brusly coach Tait Dupont said. “I told the guys we had a lot of baseball left, and those two games weren’t going to define our season. Our kids are focused on this one game, and once that’s over with, they’ll focus on the next one.”

While Dupont remains optimistic of an outside chance at the district title, he said maintaining their spot at No. 4 in the power ratings is of paramount importance.

Brusly is led offensively by left fielder Kwanston Adkins (.460) and will rely on one of three pitchers — twins Cullen (3-2) or Taylor (4-1) Prejean or Luke LeBlanc (4-0) — to start.