By RODRICK ANDERSON
SULPHUR — With an expanded field, the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA state baseball tournament will start a day early this year.
The first eight of 24 semifinals games will start today at 11:30 a.m. at McMurry Park in Sulphur with No. 10 Houma Christian taking on No. 11 Ascension Episcopal in the Division IV semifinals.
Division IV and V as well as Class B and C semifinals will be played today. Class 3A, 1A and Division I, II, and III semifinals will be played on Thursday.
Friday’s schedule will include Class 5A, 4A and 2A semifinals as well as four championship games (Class B, C, Division IV, V).
The tournament will wrap up on Saturday with Class 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A and Division I, II, and III championship games.
Here are some highlights for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s semifinal games:
No. 1 Brusly vs. No. 5 Iowa
(Thurs., 7:30 p.m., Field 41)
Brusly is the top seed for the second straight year in Class 3A but is still looking for its first state title.
The Panthers are in the semifinals for the fourth time in five years.
Brusly lost in the semifinals to South Beauregard last year 4-2 and returns one first team all-state player in first baseman Ben Bergeron.
Iowa upset No. 4 North Vermilion in three games in the quarterfinals to reach the 3A semifinals for the first time since 2015 when they lost to John Curtis 3-2 after their season ended in the regional round last year.
The Yellow Jackets are looking for their first state title since 2007.
No. 3 Berwick vs. No. 7 South Beauregard (Thurs., 4:30 p.m., Field 41)
After its deepest playoff run in school history which saw them reach the 3A state championship game, No. 7 South Beauregard (22-14) is back again in Sulphur.
But the Golden Knights’ road to Sulphur was a little tougher this year. After three different three-game losing streaks during the regular season, the Knights rolled through the playoffs including an upset of No. 2 North Webster on the road in the quarterfinals.
South Beauregard returns several players from last year’s team including first team all-state members Hayden Gunter, Logan Savoy, Jansen Fontenot and Chance Clark.
The Berwick Panthers (25-10) are back at the state tournament after a seven-year hiatus. Berwick lost to Benton in the 2007 semifinals.
Berwick had to pull off an extra inning 6-5 win in the third game of its quarterfinal series against No. 6 Buckeye to punch its ticket to Sulphur.
No. 3 Delhi Charter vs. No. 7 Grand Lake (Thurs., 5 p.m., Field 37)
With the No. 1 seed Logansport and No. 2 Oak Grove already out of the playoffs, No. 3 Delhi Charter is the top remaining seed in Class 1A.
Delhi reached the quarterfinals in 2007 and 2008 but has never been to the semifinals before this season.
Grand Lake is also a new comer to the state tournament making its first appearance in program history. The Hornets, the District 4-1A champ, have a deep pitching staff that includes Kade Delcambre, Kade Pousson, Alex Guillory, Drew Young, Jaron Sonnier and Jose Del Rosa.
Grand Lake is no stranger to the underdog role. They scored eight runs in the seventh inning to beat No. 2 Oak Grove 9-4 in the quarterfinals last week.
No. 4 LaSalle vs. No. 9 Oberlin
(Thurs., 2 p.m., Field 37)
Oberlin almost didn’t make the state tournament. Despite building up an 11-1 lead on No. 16 Block, the Tigers committed five errors and had to hold on for a 20-13 win in the quarterfinals.
Oberlin has scored 36 runs in three playoff games and has won 17 of its last 22 games
LaSalle (19-12) lost three of five to close out the regular season but has only allowed two runs in its first two playoff games including a 12-2 win over Delta Charter in the quarterfinals.
LaSalle last reached the semifinals in 2003 and won its only state championship in 1951 6-5 over Delhi.
No. 1 Glenmora vs. No. 4 Oak Hill (Wed., 6 p.m., Field 41)
The second of two Class B semifinal games on Wednesday will be a rematch District 5-B rivals No. 1 Glenmora (25-10) and No. 4 Oak Hill (19-10).
Glenmora won both regular season games 4-3 and 11-2.
Glenmora, which is led by a trio of seniors in Cameron Strother (.432, 23 runs, 20 RBIs, 6 doubles), Gaten Chaddrick (.263, 24 RBIs, 6 doubles) and Jordan Carter (.389, 24 runs, 7 doubles, 2 HRs), lost in the semifinals last year and finals in 2014.
Oak Hill lost its final three regular season games but has since rebounded by outscoring Monterey and Pitkin 22-4 in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The game will be a rematch of the 2016 regional round which Glenmora won 4-3.
No. 3 Florien vs. No. 7 Choudrant (Wed., 2:30 p.m., Field 40)
After a five-game mid-season losing streak, Florien (22-10) has won 14 of its last 16 games to reach the semifinals for the first time since they won the 2015 Class B state championship 1-0 over this year’s semifinal opponent, Choudrant.
Returning all-state player Lane Alford will led the Blackcats into the semifinals against a Choudrant team that has won its last five games.
Choudrant was the Class B runner up in 2010 and 2011 and last won a state championship in 2005.
No. 1 Elizabeth vs. No. 4 Summerfield (Wed., 5 p.m., Field 37)
Elizabeth (30-5) is the hands down favorite to win its second Class C state championship in three years.
The Bulldogs started the season 12-0 and their only losses were to 5A powers Barbe and Acadiana, 4A quarterfinalist DeRidder, Class B No. 1 Glenmora and University Academy of Central Louisiana.
The Bulldogs are led by returning all-state players Mark Reed, Ty Morgan and Chance Gordon.
Summerfield (21-8) lost in the first round of the playoffs last year but has found its way back to Sulphur for the first time since 2015 when it lost to Elizabeth 13-3 in the semifinals.
Summerfield is on an eight-game win streak.
No. 2 Simpson vs. No. 6 Georgetown (Wed., 2 p.m., Field 37)
Simpson (23-8) and Georgetown are set for a rematch today in the Class C semifinals.
With two returning all-state players in Isaac Allbritton and Weston Parker, Simpson beat Georgetown 10-0 on March 9th.
The Broncos lost to Downsville 6-2 in the semifinals last year.
Georgetown (16-13) recovered from a 0-6 start to the season to win nine of its last 10 games and is looking to avenge a 16-2 loss to Simpson in the quarterfinals last year.
Georgetown is making its first trip to Sulphur since falling to Northside Christian 7-2 in the 2014 semifinals.
The Bulldogs sport some big hitters in senior Austin Jones (.494, 26 runs, 16 RBIs, 10 doubles) and juniors Hunter Dorion (553, 26 RBIs, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HRs) and Kaleb Hudson (.440, 26 runs, 10 doubles).
No. 1 John Curtis vs. No. 4 Arch. Rummel (Thurs., 4 p.m., Field 40)
No. 1 John Curtis (25-6) is one of three teams from District 9-5A to reach the Division I semifinals. The Patriots split two regular season games with Archbishop Rummel (27-10) 2-3 and 7-6 and beat No. 3 Holy Cross three times.
John Curtis was the 3A state champ in 2015, its seventh state championship, but lost in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs last year.
The Patriots are led by a talented group of juniors in Jay Curtis (.327, 39 RBIs, 6 HRs), Cade Beloso (.430, 36 RBIs, 19 doubles, 7 HRs), Brandon Davis (.343, 21 RBIs, 11 doubles) and Ian Landreaneau (73k, 63.2ip, 7-1, 2.09 ERA).
Rummel has five state championship to its name but hasn’t won one since 1997. The Raiders lost to Barbe in the 5A regionals last year and the 5A finals in 2012.
No. 2 Catholic-Baton Rouge vs. No. 3 Holy Cross (Thurs., 7 p.m., Field 40)
Catholic-Baton Rouge is the only team left in Division I not from District 9-5A. It will be the Bears third straight trip to the state semifinals after falling to Barbe in the 5A semifinals last year and again in the championship game in 2015.
Holy Cross (24-11) will play in its first semifinal game since falling to Teurlings Catholic 11-1 in the 2012 4A state championship game.
Holy Cross had a 10-game win streak going before a 10-0 loss to Brother Martin in the second game of its quarterfinal series but rebounded with a 5-3 win to punch its ticket to Sulphur.
Holy Cross lost to Catholic in the regional round of the 5A playoffs in 2015.
No. 3 Teurlings vs. No. 10 St. Thomas More (Thurs., 1:30 p.m., Field 41)
The second Division II be a rematch of the 2015 5A finals between District 4-4A rivals Teurlings Catholic (25-10) and St. Thomas More (23-12). The two teams split the regular season match up with St. Thomas More taking the first game 12-4 and Teurlings winning the second 8-2.
St. Thomas More won the 2015 4A state title over Teurlings 5-1.
Teurlings won the 4A title last year and returns two key players from that team in Nick Webre and Austin Kirkpatrick.
St. Thomas More had to upset No. 2 St. Michael in the quarterfinals and is in search of its third state title since 2014 and fifth overall.
No. 4 Univ. Lab vs. No. 8 St. Louis Cath. (Thurs., 10:30 a.m., Field 41)
St. Louis Catholic struggled early in the season going 4-7 but finished the regular season strong winning eight of 10.
That hot streak continued in the playoffs as they swept No. 9 De La Salle in the regional round and went on the road and stunned No. 1 E.D. White in the quarterfinals 9-4, 8-5.
St. Louis is in the semifinals for the first time since winning the Class 4A state championship in 2011.
University Lab (24-10) is making its first appearance in the state semifinals since losing to John Curtis 4-2 in the 2014 3A semifinals. The Cubs were the 3A runner up in 2013 and 2000.
No. 1 Opelousas Cath. vs. No. 4 Riverside Acad. (Thurs., 10 a.m., Field 40)
After falling to St. Thomas Aquinas 7-1 in the 2A semifinals last, the Opelousas Catholic Vikings (28-8) earned the No. 1 seed in Division III this year and are in the semifinals for the third time since 2014.
The Eagles had a 12-game win streak going before falling to Episcopal 10-6 in the second game of their quarterfinals series but rebounded to win the third game 4-2 to advance.
Opelousas Catholic, led by returning all-staters Spencer Gardner and Adam Purser, is looking for its first appearance in a state finals game since 1974.
Riverside Academy (28-9) led by return all-state player Mason Vicknair, who hit seven home runs and 29 RBIs through26 games, along with pitchers Tanner Louque and Connor Poche are in the semifinals for the second straight year.
No. 2 Ouachita Christ. vs. No. 6 St. Charles Cath. (Thurs., 1 p.m., Field 40)
Ouachita Christian (28-8) started the season 8-6 but won 17 of its final 18 regular season games.
After bowing out in the quarterfinals last year, the Eagles beat Notre Dame 3-2 in the quarterfinals on a walk off RBI by Connor McKoin.
The Eagles also have two solid arms in Jonathan Snuggs and Northwestern State signee Ty O’Neal but will have to get by St. Charles Catholic (25-10) if its wants a chance to win its first state title since 2015 and eighth overall.
The Comets are on an eight-game win streak led by returning all-state first teamer Lloyd Nash.
St. Charles reached the finals six times since 1998 but has yet to win a state championship including a 3-1 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the 2A championship game last year.
No. 1 Central Cath. vs. No. 4 Ascension Cath. (Wed., 5:30 p.m., Field 40)
Central Catholic (26-7) won the Class 1A state championship 8-7 over Oak Grove last year and is the favorite to win its sixth state championship.
The Eagles are led by returning all-state pitcher Gregory Leger and infielder Mitchel Lemoine and are on a 13-game win streak.
Ascension Catholic (21-12) lost in the quarterfinals three years in a row before beating Catholic-Point Coupee 10-1 last week to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2005.
The Bulldogs are led by LSU Eunice signee Nick Bellina, a first team all-stater last year, who hit his fourth home run of the season last week and pitcher Landon Clifton.
No. 10 Houma Christ. vs. No. 11 Ascension Epis. (Wed., 11:30 a.m., Field 40)
Houma Christian (18-13-1) stunned No. 2 Cedar Creek 3-1 last week to reach the semifinals for the first time since falling to Zwolle 6-3 in the 2008 Class B semifinals.
The Warriors are led by McCade LeBlanc who is batting .465 with 31 RBIs, 11 doubles, and four triples.
Ascension Episcopal (24-8) also pulled an upset in the quarterfinal round beating Covenant Christian 6-0 to reach the semifinals for the first time in more than 14 years.
Like the Warriors, the Blue Gators have never played in a state championship game.
The Blue Gators anchor has been returning all-state first teamer and UL-Lafayette commitment Jeffery Elkins who hit .652 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 59 RBIs in the regular season.
No. 1 Grace Christian vs. No. 5 Family Community (Wed., 3 p.m., Field 41)
Grace Christian has put together an impressive resume this season with only four losses to 5A No. 2 Barbe and No. 13 Pineville, Division III No. 2 Ouachita Christian by just one run and Class B No. 4 Oak Hill 6-5.
The Warriors have won 13 of their last 15 games.
Grace Christian lost to Fairview 14-3 in last year Class C Finals and also lost in the finals in 2010 and 2007 but have strong pitching lineup that includes three returning all-state players in Luke Boswell, Trevor Saucier and Jacob Ladner.
Family Community Christian School out of Winsboro lost to Claiborne Christian in the quarterfinals last year and is making its first appearance ever in the state semifinals.
No. 2 Claiborne Christ. vs. No. 3 Epis. of Acadiana (Wed., 12 p.m., Field 41)
Sulphur is like a second home for Claiborne Christian (16-14) who has made the trip to Sulphur every year since the state tournament moved to McMurry Park. The Crusaders have reached the finals every year but once since 2008 winning state titles in 2009, 2009, 2010 and last year 6-2 over Downsville in the Class C Finals.
Episcopal of Acadiana (21-10) lost in the quarterfinals last year but beat Patrick Taylor 10-0 in the quarterfinals this year to reach the semifinals for the first time in more than 14 years.
Wednesday, May 10th
11:30 a.m. – (IV) No. 10 Houma Christian vs. No. 11 Ascension Episcopal (Field 40)
12 p.m. – (V) No. 2 Claiborne Christian vs. No. 3 Episcopal of Acadiana (Field 41)
2 p.m. – (C) No. 2 Simpson vs. No. 6 Georgetown (Field 37)
2:30 p.m. (B) No. 3 Florien vs. No. 7 Choudrant (Field 40)
3 p.m. – (V) No. 1 Grace Christian vs. No. 5 Family Community (Field 41)
5:30 p.m. – (IV) No. 1 Central Catholic vs. No. 4 Ascension Catholic (Field 40)
5 p.m. – (C) No. 1 Elizabeth vs. No. 4 Summerfield (Field 37)
6 p.m. – (B) No. 1 Glenmora vs. No. 4 Oak Hill (Field 41)
Thursday, May 11th
10 a.m. – (III) No. 1 Opelousas Catholic vs. No. 4 Riverside Academy (Field 40)
10:30 a.m. – (II) No. 4 University Lab vs. No. 8 St. Louis (Field 41)
1 p.m. – (III) No. 2 Ouachita Christian vs. No. 6 St. Charles (Field 40)
1:30 p.m. – (II) No. 3 Teurlings Catholic vs. No. 10 St. Thomas More (Field 41)
2 p.m. – (1A) No. 4 LaSalle vs. No. 9 Oberlin (Field 37)
4 p.m. – (I) No. 1 John Curtis vs. No. 4 Archbishop Rummel (Field 40)
4:30 p.m. – (3A) No. 3 Berwick vs. No. 7 South Beauregard (Field 41)
5 p.m. – (1A) No. 3 Delhi Charter vs. No. 7 Grand Lake (Field 37)
7 p.m. – (I) No. 2 Catholic-BR vs. No. 3 Holy Cross (Field 40)
7:30 p.m. – (3A) No. 1 Brusly vs. No. 5 Iowa (Field 41)
Friday, May 12th
10 a.m. (2A) No. 1 Sterlington vs. No. 4 Kinder (Field 41)
10:30 a.m. (4A) No. 8 Neville vs. No. 21 Salmen (Field 40)
1 p.m. – (2A) No. 3 Lakeside vs. No. 7 Rosepine (Field 41)
1:30 p.m. (4A) No. 2 Breaux Bridge vs No. 3 Tioga (Field 40)
4 p.m. – (5A) No. 1 West Monroe vs. No. 5 Zachary (Field 41)
7 p.m. – (5A) No. 3 Sam Houston vs. No. 7 Central-BR (Field 41)
1 p.m. – C (Field 37)
4 p.m. – V (field 37)
4:30 p.m. – B (Field 40)
7 p.m. – IV (Field 37)
Saturday, May 3th
11:30 a.m. – 4A (Field 40)
12 p.m. – II (Field 41)
2 p.m. – 1A (Field 37)
2:30 p.m. – 2A (Field 40)
3 p.m. – I (Field 41)
5 p.m. – III (Field 37)
5:30 p.m. – 3A (Field 40)
6 p.m. – 5A (Field 41)