Rebels, Comets baseball showdown on tap next week

Published 12:01 am Saturday, April 2, 2016

LAPLACE — This week, Riverside and St. Charles Catholic fans’ attention was on the softball teams, who played for the second and final time of the regular season on Thursday (Riverside won 13-0.)

Next week, all eyes will be on the baseball fields as the Comets and Rebels square off as district opponents for the first time since 2011.

St. Charles Catholic will host the first of the two meetings at 4 p.m. Tuesday in LaPlace. The action will move to Riverside Academy on Thursday.

While the word “district” has been added to this year’s games, this match-up between the cross-town rivals has always been a big one for players and fans alike. It’s still Riverside versus St. Charles, after all. It’s still the area’s biggest rivalry game — whether the coaches like it or not.

“I like the rivalry, personally,” St. Charles Catholic coach Wayne Stein said. “It prepares you for the playoffs. You’re going to have to go into a hostile environment and deal with the pressure. I think it’s a good thing.”

Riverside Academy coach Frank Cazeaux said he will try to downplay the rivalry, but probably won’t succeed.

“We’re just going to treat it like a regular game and try not to let it be like a big rah-rah football thing,” Cazeaux said. “Look, I’ve been through the Rummel-Jesuit rivalry when things picked up a little bit. I’ve been through the Hahnville-Destrehan rivalry when things picked up a little bit. If things don’t pick up a little bit around this one, you’ve got to get your pulse checked.”

The stakes may be just a little higher for Riverside.

Despite all their successes, the Rebels baseball team has seen nothing but futility against the Comets in recent years. Stein is 23-3 against the Rebels, and St. Charles has won 15 consecutive games.

The last time Riverside won a game against its nemesis was 2008 when the Rebels took a 9-5 victory. St. Charles later avenged that loss with an 11-10 win.

“Honestly, for it to be a rivalry we’d have to win it a couple of times, right?” Cazeaux said.

The Comets are the hot team going into this week, even after splitting a pair of District 12-2A games against Newman and ending a 7-game win streak. St. Charles  lost the first game on Tuesday, 5-4, then came back to win 7-1 on Thursday to improve to 15-5.

In Tuesday’s game, St. Charles took a 4-3 lead into the seventh before the Greenies rallied when Allen Dennis hit a 2-run home run in the top of the inning. Dennis also pitched a complete game to earn the win. Justin Ory had two hits and one RBI for the Comets.

In Thursday’s game St. Charles took a 2-0 lead in the third, then added four runs in the fifth. Dane Authement went 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored.

Brennan Gilbert had a solid outing on the mound. After giving up a single to the first batter, Gilbert did not allow another base-runner until the sixth.

Riverside, meanwhile, swept a double-header against West St. John on Tuesday with victories of 16-0 and 19-4. Mason Vicknair pitched and hit the Rebels to victory in the first game, scoring three runs, scoring one on a solo home run in the third inning. Vicknair also pitched a 2-hitter.

In the second game the Rebels took control early, scoring 10 runs in the first and nine runs in the second of the 3-inning game. Dane Edler set the table early with his grand slam in the first inning. He finished with six RBIs.

“We just came out and did what we had to do,” Cazeaux said. “We hit well, we pitched well and made plays like you’re supposed to do — or like you’d like to do.”

In other action, East St. John split a pair of District 7-5A games. The Wildcats lost to Hahnville 12-2 Tuesday, then came back to take a 4-1 win over Terrebonne Thursday.

I’Leke Brown pitched a complete game, giving up six hits and striking out six for the Wildcats as they improved to 10-10.

The East St. John baseball and softball teams will celebrate Senior Day with a dual ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. today.

The baseball team will play East Jefferson in a non-district game at noon. The softball team will play McDonogh 35 at 11:30 a.m.