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Monday, April 30, 2007

Hurting in 5A

The Class 5A baseball playoff brackets will come out on Tuesday.

You may remember that no local team has won a baseball state championship in the highest classification since Fair Park in 1970.

That won't change this year.

Byrd and Airline givel the area its only playoff participants in Class 5A. Byrd is in the building stages and Airline has had a disappointing season by its standards.

The two schools had to play a game to decide third place last week.

This is a far cry from recent years when Southwood and Shreve were making trips to the state tournament and certainly a long way from Airline's glory days of the early 1990s.

There is hope on the way. Besides Byrd and Airline, Shreve jumps back up to 5A next year and will help the local baseball scene.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Big weekend for ECA

Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't ignore Evangel football. Not when three former Evangel players are taken in the same draft class.

That's exactly what happened this weekend with Jonathan Wade going to the Rams, Chase Pittman going to the Browns and Keyunta Dawson going to the Colts.

Little wonder the school has been piling up state championships.

And next year, it will likely claim John David Booty in that draft.

No matter what one thinks about the program, it is a rather impressive feat.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The radar guns were out on Thursday

With Captain Shreve and DeRidder meeting in the first round of the Class 4A tournament, there were plenty of scouts in the stands watching the Gators' Austin Ross.

I positioned myself just to the side of a couple of them to sneak a peak at what the guns were tracking him at.

From what I could tell, there were at least five scouts there, four of them had guns on Ross. It looked like a state trooper convention behind the Shreve's backstop.

Ross' highest speed? He hit 91, but he was right around the 88-90 mark on his fastball through his five innings of work. Even his slider was cutting at around 85.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Let the playoff games begin

I love postseason baseball - just not in the LHSAA.

This is a drum I've been beating for 20-plus years. A single elimination playoff system is a joke. That's right a J-O-K-E joke.

I'm from Mississippi where they played two-out-of-three series. My first job was in Texas where they had two-out-of-three series leading up to the state tournament. Then I moved to Louisiana in the mid-1980s and, wow, was I shocked.

Here are the reasons I hate this format:

1) You can ride one pitcher all the way to the state tournament
2) The best team doesn't always win the state title.
3) One bad bounce -- or one bad call - can do a team in for the playoffs.

I could go on but you probably get the point.

I have found coaches locally on both sides. Some like the pressure of a one-and-done situation others prefer a format to determine the best team.

Me, give me a two-of-three series or, at the least, a double-elimination tournament. Anything is better than this format.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Busiest time of the year

It's that time of the year - the busiest time on the prep sports calendar.

For instance, today there was baseball, golf and tennis. And, oh yes, Airline is practicing getting ready for this week's state softball tournament.

I feel bad for the golfers and tennis players because they sometimes get lost with baseball, softball and track going on at the same time.

I don't know if any one at the LHSAA has ever given thought to moving golf and tennis back a week or two, but it might help give those sports more of a spotlight.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ready for some football?

Yes, it's that time of the year -- spring football in the high schools.

A handful of area schools will open spring football practice today. Some, such as Ruston and North DeSoto, plan on opening the following week.

Spring practice isn't much fun for players but it's a time of teaching and evaluation. And it's also a time for college coaches to get a head start on recruiting.

As for fans, spring games can whet the appetite for the 2007 season.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

And then there was one

We're down to one Shreveport-Bossier City high school team playing softball.

Congratulations, Airline.

It was a rough week in the playoffs. District 1-4A's tri-champions - Haughton, Captain Shreve and Parkway - all lost in the first round. Byrd lost at Sulphur in the second round. Evangel took a lead into the bottom of the fifth inning before losing in the second-round. Calvary ran into a buzzsaw in the second round against Delcambre.

But Airline is still standing. The Lady Vikings will play next week in Sulphur as the city's only representative. It's quite an accomplishment for the Airline team.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The joy of LAX

After watching the boys lacrosse city championship last night, the sport's rising local popularity is certainly understandable.

The game had enough offense - Shreve scored 10 goals, Magnet 5 - to keep most Americans happy. It has speed and a physical nature to it as well.

Granted, these were the two best teams in the city, but there was certainly an intensity and high level to the play of the two teams.

Good stuff.

Now if we can just get the rest of the state to come along.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Busy week in preps

The weather may not feel like it, but we're getting close to the end of the prep sports school year.

Here's how you can tell -- the softball playoffs begin Monday, we'll have district track meets beginning around here on Wednesday, a lacrosse city championship is set for Tuesday and prep baseball teams are all jockeying for position in the playoffs.

It should be an interesting week.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Coming up

We'll have a story in Monday's paper on a Haynesville High School softball player who is starting for the first time this year.

What's so interesting about that?

She's a fifth grader.

It should be an interesting story.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bracket busting

It's always interesting to see coaches' reactions to the playoff brackets.

Take softball for example.

Ruston coach Ricky Goulart is happy with his bracket. His team could be at home for two playoff games before the state tournament in Sulphur.

But Haughton coach Hal Harlan isn't so pleased. His team is playing Tioga, a team that finished in a three-way tie for first in its district.

That's not a real good reward for a team that finished in a three-way tie for the district title in 1-4A and then won the tiebreakers for the top seed.

Still, it's like Evangel coach Dan Moreman said. You've still got to win five games to win the state title.

Good bracket or not, it's the five wins that matter now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bouncing back

There were some people disappointed in the performance of Captain Shreve's Austin Ross and Calvary's Randy Zeigler last week in their big pitching matchup on Saturday.

I guess they weren't domiant enough.

Well, both pitchers bounced back.

Ross threw a one-hitter in a shutout of Parkway. Zeigler struck out 12 in a win over Evangel.

These are the two best pitchers in Shreveport-Bossier City.

You'll have a lot of work to do to convince me otherwise.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Possibility of 4-way tie for second in 1-5A softball

While the suspense is over as to who will win the District 1-5A softball championship this season -- that would be Ruston -- the race for second is going down to the wire.

In fact, there could be a 4-way tie for second among Byrd, Natchitoches Central, West Monroe and Airline. That will happen if Natchitoches Central beats Byrd, and West Monroe upsets Ruston today.

Byrd can get outright second if it defeats Natchitoches.

West Monroe must defeat Ruston to have a shot at a tie for second. West Monroe and Airline could finish tied for third if West Monroe wins and Byrd beats Natchitoches Central.

Monday, April 09, 2007

That time of year

I was talking with an athletic director at an area school recently. I asked how the baseball team was doing. Not real good, he said.

I asked about the softball team. Not real good, either.

Track? Nope, not good either.

Well, I asked, when does spring football start?

Ah, now that got a positive answer.

In case you're wondering, prep spring football will start around the area on April 23.

And for schools that are struggling in the spring sports -- spring football can't come soon enough.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Calvary-Shreve rewind

Well, baseball fans got what they wanted - an Austin Ross vs. Randy Zeigler matchup in the Captain Shreve-Calvary game on Saturday.

Too bad the weather didn't cooperate.

I honestly believe the cold weather kept both pitchers from being as dominant as they have been this season.

Still, that being said, it was a heckuva high school baseball game.

Calvary should just about have eliminated the notion that the Cavaliers are "only a 1A team.'' Calvary can play with anybody.

And Shreve proved it is still the class of the city.

Kudos to the coaches for making that game come together.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A little luster lost

Well, it would have been pretty cool if Calvary had been unbeaten going into Saturday's showdown with Captain Shreve.

It didn't happen.

Parkview Baptist 7, Calvary 2.

So Calvary will be 22-1 and Shreve will be 25-3. Not bad.

The best news is this will indeed be an Austin Ross vs. Randy Zeigler pitching matchup. That should be worth the price of admission alone.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Busy weekend

It's a holiday weekend with Good Friday and Easter coming up. But there's some good high school baseball on the agenda.

Calvary will play perennial power Parkview Baptist on Friday and then Captain Shreve on Saturday.

Both of those should be good games. If you want to skip the Easter egg hunt, both would be worth watching.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Coach Rob's influence

Here is how you can tell how much influence Eddie Robinson had on the game around here. Just look at some of the coaches who are coaching because of Eddie Robinson.

Mansfield's Donald Mayweather played for Robinson. He talked Wednesday about Robinson's knack for communicating with players.

Green Oaks' Stephen Dennis played and coached with Robinson. He talked about Robinson's greatness as a motivator.

That's just two coaches who are helping teach and mold football players just in this area. There are more stories just like that.

Robinson's impact on high school football in the area will be seen for years to come.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Shreve-Calvary talk

We're hearing that the possibility of an Austin Ross-Randy Zeigler matchup on Saturday for the Shreve-Calvary baseball game is looking more likely by the day.

If that game comes off, that will be must-see baseball for the baseball and high school sports fans in this area.

Hopefully we'll have some definitive words soon. Keep your fingers crossed.

Hot hitter

Keep an eye on Airline's Justin Smith this week.

The Vikings' senior has hit safely in 10 consecutive at-bats. He has a 4-for-4 game and a 5-for-5 game during that stretch.

It will be interesting to see how long Smith can take this streak.