Three local teams are one step away from the LHSAA State Baseball Tournament in Sulphur.
Vandebilt Catholic, E.D. White and South Terrebonne all earned their place in the State Quarterfinals, taking best of three game series in the playoffs.
Vandebilt beat De La Salle in three games, losing the opening game of the series on Wednesday before rallying back and winning two-straight games on Friday night.
South Terrebonne, too, won a Game 3, taking a series with Leesville after winning Game 1 and Game 3, losing Game 2 on Saturday morning.
E.D. White had little drama, sweeping St. Louis to earn a spot in the next round.
TERRIERS, CARDINALS ROLL IN DIVISION II
Vandebilt had no margin for error.
The Terriers lost the first game of their series against De La Salle 9-4 last Wednesday. They arrived in New Orleans on Friday knowing they had to either win both games of the day-night doubleheader or go home.
They won both.
The Terriers won game two of the series 7-6 in extra innings — one of the most thrilling games of the season.
The teams fought back and forth, heading to extra innings with the score tied 6-all.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Josh Shelly smashed a pitch with the bases loaded off the wall, clinching the game and win for Vandebilt.
Just 20 minutes after the win, Vandebilt re-took the field and hammered De La Salle, clinching the series with a 11-6 win to move to the Quarterfinals.
“I just can’t say enough about the kids. I’m so proud of them and their effort,” Terriers coach Gee Cassard said. “Our guys battled. We had so many opportunities to give up, but we never did. Top-to-bottom, everyone on this team pitched in and helped us win. And I think that’s what feels the best for us — was that it was a total team effort.”
With the win, the Terriers will move to the Quarterfinals where they will take on No. 1 University Lab.
The Cubs are one of the top teams in Louisiana — fresh off a decisive sweep of Haynes Academy in the opening round.
But Cassard said he and his team enter the series with confidence. Vandebilt played Lab in a tournament earlier this season, falling 7-2. But that was during a tournament when the Terriers were a little depleted in their pitching staff.
This time, Cassard said the team will be ready to roll.
“We’re going there optimistic — playing to win a series,” Cassard said. “Our kids are excited for the challenge and we’re motivated to get it done.”
While Vandebilt had a drama-filled series with De La Salle, E.D. White took care of business with relative ease.
The Cardinals swept St. Louis, winning the first game 8-3, then the second game 11-7.
E.D. White got a huge performance from ace Devin DeSandro on the mound in the opening-game win, posting double-digit strikeouts. In game two, LSU signee Wes Toups launched a dinger to power the team’s win.
E.D. White will now travel to take on No. 2 St. Thomas More in the Quarterfinals for a chance to make it to Sulphur.
SOUTH TERREBONNE ROLLS IN DRAMATIC SERIES WIN
South Terrebonne has waited a while to have a home second-round playoff series.
They didn’t miss out on cashing in on the opportunity.
The Gators outlasted Leesville in an action-packed series, scoring a decisive 14-3 win in the decisive game three win on Saturday.
Before the finale, the Gators and Wampus Cats split a pair of one-run games. The Gators beat Leesville 4-3 on Friday in a thriller before the Wampus Cats won 5-4 in extra innings in Saturday’s first game.
In game one, Nick Brunet got the win on the mound after a late-game home run by David Lirette split a 3-all tie and put the Gators up 4-3. From there, Landon Neil closed the win and gave the Gators early control of the series.
But the Wampus Cats had fight. On Saturday, the Gators appeared poised to win and sweep, but Leesville scored a late-game rally to force extra innings, then secure the win.
But in the finale, the Gators jumped on Leesville early and often, plating a first-inning surge to put away their foe for good.
With the win, the Gators pushed into the Quarterfinals where they will play No. 2 Lakeshore.
The team’s goal all season has been to “Play in May” — a motto the team will now accomplish.
“These guys just grind. We have kids who love to compete,” South Terrebonne coach Mike Barba said earlier this season. “We want to stress with our guys to just finish. Finish a game. Finish an inning. Finish an at-bat. Finish a play. If we finish, we think we will have a great season.”
CCA FALLS IN OPENING ROUND
CCA wasn’t quite as prosperous as the other locals.
The Lions lost in two-straight games against Ascension Christian, falling 7-4 in the opening game of the series, then 8-6 in the finale.
The loss ends the Lions’ season short of their goal to make it to Sulphur.
CCA coach Joe Teuton said the Lions ended the season with a few injuries, adding that he was proud of the team’s effort throughout adversity.