The Daily Review/Greg Roussel
Berwick's Grant Oubre pitches against Buckeye during prep baseball quarterfinal action last weekend.
Central Catholic's Adam Dupuis celebrates at second base during a regular-season game.
St. Mary's a hit in prep baseball playoffs
For the second consecutive season, two St. Mary Parish teams will be playing at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Baseball State Tournament.
However, unlike a year ago when cross-parish rivals Central Catholic and Hanson Memorial met in the Class 1A semifinals, this season, Berwick and Central Catholic will make the trip and compete in Class 3A and Division IV, respectively.
The two schools, in municipalities separated by the Atchafalaya River, will play on consecutive days. Central Catholic, Division IV’s top seed, will play Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. on Field 40 against No. 4 seed Ascension Catholic, while Thursday, Berwick, Class 3A’s No. 3 seed, will meet No. 7 seed and 2016 Class 3A state runner-up South Beauregard on Field 41 at 4:30 p.m.
Central Catholic Coach Tyler Jensen, who is bringing his team to the state tournament for the sixth consecutive season and is attempting to repeat as a state champion after winning a title in 2016, said that it’s a positive for the area with multiple teams in Sulphur.
“I said it last year when we played Hanson: It’s good for this area as far as pride and just showing how good of an area St. Mary Parish is with baseball,” he said. “A lot of our guys are good friends with their guys and just to have that extra presence there is always big for St. Mary Parish and Berwick and Central Catholic.”
Central Catholic enters the state tournament with a 26-7 mark, while Berwick sports a 25-10 mark.
Berwick is making its first state tournament appearance since 2007. The Panthers are led this season by first-year Coach John Menard.
“Coach John Menard’s a first-class guy,” Jensen said. “There’s probably no one else that deserves it than him and his guys. They’ve had a lot of talent there for a couple of years, and it’s good to see a team with a bunch of seniors like that that finally put it all together and punched that ticket.”
Menard also was complimentary of Jensen.
“Coach Jensen does a great job over there at Central year in and year out getting his guys ready to go,” Menard said.
“We talked about this a lot over here, wanting to make it to the next level, getting past the first round, second round, getting all the way over there to the tournament.
“It’s going to be huge. I know we have a lot of people talking about coming to support us. We’re actually going to go up there Wednesday night and try to catch some of the Central game, support them, kind of see the atmosphere, so it should be exciting.”
For a preview of Central Catholic’s contest, see page 8, while Berwick’s preview will be featured in Thursday’s newspaper.