Parkview, Brusly face intriguing options

Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- Parkview's Blake Ballard hits the ball as Walker's catcher Anthony Sunde prepares to catch during Tuesday's game held at Parkview.   Photo shot on Tuesday March 12, 2013, in Baton Rouge, La.. MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS/  Full contract in place Show caption
Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- Parkview's Blake Ballard hits the ball as Walker's catcher Anthony Sunde prepares to catch during Tuesday's game held at Parkview. Photo shot on Tuesday March 12, 2013, in Baton Rouge, La.. MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS/ Full contract in place

Test your knowledge with this multiple choice question about Baton Rouge’s two Class 3A baseball semifinalists, Brusly High and Parkview Baptist.

Which of the following statements is true?

A. Brusly was the last school to beat Parkview to win a district baseball title.

B. PBS designated hitter Chris Dupont is the nephew of BHS coach Tait Dupont.

C. The two schools are on opposite sides of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s nonselect/select school debate.

D. The Panthers and Eagles will soon be district rivals.

E. Brusly and PBS playing each other would be a positive thing for Baton Rouge.

F. All of the above.

If you picked F, you are correct. The 11th-seeded Panthers (26-7) and No. 5 Parkview (18-17) take their most significant tests to date when the LHSAA’s State Tournament for 4A, 3A, B and begins at 10 a.m. Friday at Sulphur’s McMurry Park with semifinal games. PBS meets top-seeded North DeSoto (28-4) at 10 a.m., while Brusly takes on No. 2 E.D. White Catholic (27-4) at 1 p.m.

The semifinal games come days after the schools met with a group of five other schools set to be part of District 7-3A for 2013-14/2014-15. The schools were longtime district rivals for more than a decade.

As PBS coach Darron Mitchell points out, Brusly beat Parkview to win a district baseball title in 1999. The Eagles have won a district title each year since.

“Brusly is a quality program,” Mitchell said. “They were in the state tournament three years ago, and we were there two years ago.

Baseball is important at both schools. With us U-High (2A semifinalist) and West Feliciana it should be a heck of a district.”

While the school structures are different — Brusly is a traditional public or nonselect school and PBS is a private or select school — the two programs have some similarities. For example, both coaches chose to play tough nondistrict games in order to prepare for a deep playoff run. The strategy has worked. It has also put both schools in the role of the underdog.

“You play a tough schedule to challenge your team,” Dupont said. “It might hurt your power ranking, but it prepares you for the playoffs and games like this. It all comes down to which team plays the best this weekend. E.D. White is a great team, but we feel like we’re prepared for the weekend.”

Both teams share a common bond of strong pitching and powerful offense. Gage Pickett (4-3-1) and Zack Hamilton (9-2) are top pitchers for PBS, while Taylor Prejean (10-1) and Luke LeBlanc (9-0) pace Brusly. Seven PBS starters are hitting .348 or better. Six Brusly starters are hitting better than .300 led by outfielder Kwanstan Adkins, who is hitting .431.

With two public schools, Brusly and North DeSoto, paired with two private schools, E.D. White and PBS, the chance for a clash over the LHSAA move to split football playoffs for select and nonselect schools could happen. It did last month when softball fans from Winnfield and John Curtis Christian wore T-shirts to note their school status at the LHSAA tourney in Sulphur.

Parkview, the 3A football champion last fall, also is mentioned in the debate. Several other classes also feature a mix of public and private schools. “To make this about anything other than kids playing for a state baseball title would be wrong,” Mitchell said.

Dupont contends that having a nephew who plays for PBS will likely be a bigger story next year when the teams are in the same district. Still, the possibilities are intriguing.

“My youngest’s son’s birthday was the other night, and the whole family went to eat,” Dupont said. “Chris was there. We decided if we see each other this weekend it would be a good thing.”