Two years ago, the Sulphur Tors were the top team in Class 5A and beat West Monroe in the quarterfinals but this year the roles are reversed.
The ninth-ranked Tors will travel to the No. 1 ranked Rebels for a best-of-three quarterfinals series starting today at 7 p.m. The Rebels are on a 25-game win streak and ranked in the top-10 in several national polls.
Sulphur lost to the Rebels 15-2 the first week of the season.
“They are what they advertised as,” Sulphur head coach Jesse Cassard said. “We know what we are in for.
“It is going to be a big environment. I don’t think they have any weaknesses. We have played them before and we have a lot of information so we are going to play hard and go at them.”
The second game of the series will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday and the third game, if necessary, at 4 p.m.
Sulphur relied on its pitching staff early in the season but the offense has come around lately especially in the playoffs with 22 runs in three games. The Tors have scored at least four runs in eight of their last nine games.
“At the beginning of the year we pitched really well,” Cassard said. “Lately we have been clicking and coming together at the right time.
“They are staying disciplined and understand what we are trying to do offensively. We feel offensively we are going to go in there and do some damage.”
Junior second baseman Scott Jones had the biggest hit of the season last week when he hit a three-run walk off home run to send the Tors into the quarterfinals. In three playoff games, Jones is hitting .500 with six RBIs. Senior Haydn Stutes has also been productive as well hitting .363 with a triple, home run and four RBI.
“The last 10 games, every at bat he has got better and better,” Cassard said. “It is fun to watch.
“He has been our best hitter the last 10 games and Stutes is not far behind them.”
But Cassard said the Tors will have to put the big win last week behind them to focus on the Rebels and getting back to the LHSAA state baseball tournament in Sulphur for the first time since 2015.
“It was fun to watch that but Sunday when we woke up it was time to move on,” Cassard said. “We can’t let the guys look back at last week. Everyone wants to talk about it but we have another one to win to get back home.”
With Andrew Sheridan (2-3, 1.96 ERA) back in the pitching rotation, the Tors are back to full strength. Cassard plans to throw junior southpaw Will Dion (3-3, 2.28 ERA) in the first game after looking at scouting reports of the Rebels’ performance against lefties.
“They have struggled with lefties so we are going to go right at them with a lefty,” Cassard said.