Comets, Rebels headed to semifinals

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017

LAPLACE — There were dogpiles all over the place in St. John the Baptist Parish last weekend, and that’s a good thing.

Now everyone is packing their cars and trucks to head back to Sulphur for what they hope will be another River Parishes showdown for a state championship.

The St. Charles Catholic baseball team celebrated first after completing a sweep of Dunham Saturday in the Division III quarterfinals.

The No. 6 Comets rallied to take a 4-3 win Friday, then had to rally again Saturday before coasting to a 17-5 6-inning victory.

Riverside Academy’s Connor Poche, No. 2, readies to celebrate with teammate Jared Hymel, right, after Hymel hit his second home run in Game Two of the three game quarterfinal series against Catholic of New Iberia.

“I wanted to get it over with to tell the truth,” said Comets coach Wayne Stein, who was gnawing on his nails through some of both games. “You just never know.”

The Comets went ahead 1-0 in the first game then trailed 2-1 in the fourth before Lloyd Nash started the rally with an RBI single.

Evan Pfister earned the win, giving up five hits and striking out five in a complete game.

Dellary Oubre and Rhett Leblanc knocked four hits and Nash hit three to help the Comets rally from a 4-1 deficit after the first inning. The Comets finished with 18 hits, scoring 2 in the second inning, 10 in the third, 1 in the fifth and 3 in the sixth.

Jayce Tamplain and Leblanc each drove in four runs.

Kaile Levatino got the second game win, striking out five.

St. Charles moves on to the Division III semifinals against No. 2 seed Ouachita Christian at 1 p.m. Thursday at McMurry Park in Sulphur.

Riverside Academy’s dogpile celebration came a little later on Saturday because it had to play two.

The Rebels dropped a 5-4 decision to No. 12 Catholic High of New Iberia Friday, then came back to sweep a pair Saturday, 9-3 and 11-2.

“They didn’t want their season to end just yet,” Rebels coach Frank Cazeaux said. “We just came out and played.”

Riverside pitcher Tanner Louque pitched a complete game 5-hitter in Game Two last weekend, striking out four in a 9-3 win.

Riverside got past Catholic with the help of strong pitching from Jordan Loving in Game One, Tanner Louque in Game Two and the combo of Mason Vicknair and Jared Hymel in Game Three.

They also can hit.

Connor Poche and Jared Hymel hit back-to-back homers in the second game; Hymel added another in the fifth inning. Vicknair hit a solo home run in the third game.

It was just a longer path to Sulphur, where the Rebels will play No. 1 seed Opelousas Catholic at 10 a.m. Friday.

The Vikings (28-8) were semifinalists last year.

Of course, all St. John Parish fans are hoping for an all-St. John Parish final on Saturday.

Last year the faithful were rewarded with an all-St. John Parish semifinal, which the Comets won 3-0 before losing to St. Thomas Aquinas 3-1 in the championship the next day.

In December St. John Parish football fans got to see an all-St. John final in football. Riverside won it, 47-20.

There’s certainly a history between these two.

A Riverside-St. Charles baseball matchup Saturday would be the third meeting of the teams this season.

St. Charles won the previous two,  10-1 and 4-1. It would be the first time the two baseball teams competed against each other for a title.

The softball teams played each other for a title in 1998. St. Charles won.

“There’s a lot of pride here,” Stein said. “It would be good for the community. It certainly says a lot about our area and about our programs. There’s four teams left and two of them are from here.

“It gives you confidence to know that Riverside and St. Charles are two of the best teams in the state. If we do end up playing  them, we wouldn’t have to call anybody to get information on them. That’s a positive. I think we both know all there is to know about each other.”

Of course, both the Rebels and the Comets have to get past Thursday’s semifinals first, which is no easy task.

Cazeaux said last year’s trip certainly will help this year’s team.

“We don’t have to go practice on a turf field and all that,” he said.

Cazeaux said he keeps a message to his players on a locker room mirror.

It reads: “Look in here. This is your competition.”

“Either you want to win a state championship or you’re going to be just happy to be there,” Cazeaux said. “It’s all on them. They have to want to play and they have to want to win.”