The Destrehan Wildcats have been on cruise control this season, running out to a 24-3 record that includes close victories over some of the stateís top teams and blowout wins over district competition.
But the Wildcats will lay their 12-game win streak on the line when they battle against Hahnville in the biggest game of the regular season.
"If we were playing Tidleywinks with Hahnville it would be a huge game," Destrehan head coach Marty Luquet said. "When I came to Destrehan 10 years ago, I had never had a rivalry like this before. I have enjoyed it more than most."
The Wildcats, who are currently ranked as the No. 2 team in the state, have scored 61 runs in their first four district games that included wins over Higgins, John Ehret, East St. John and Bonnabel. The winner of Fridayís game between Destrehan and Hahnville will be in the driverís seat for the District 8-5A crown. Hahnville (19-7, 4-0) is also undefeated in district play and has only allowed a total of three runs in four district games.
The Tigers are a senior-laden team that got plenty of experience during last yearís run to the semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament. Luquet said that experience is Hahnvilleís biggest strength.
"They have a lot of seniors that have been through this already. Making a run to state helped them," Luquet said. "Some of their pitching staff toed rubber for that. (Tyler) Lamers and (Brooks) Vial give them a lot of experience on the mound. Then they have (Connor) Lorio, (Easton) Melancon and (Tyler) Simmons who have been through this. Nothing is going to happen that they havenít seen already.
"Thatís what experience gets you."
But Luquetís squad gained plenty of experience this summer when the Destrehan American Legion team advanced to the state tournament.
The team is benefiting from the return of several all-district players, including Jace Weber, Brock Benedetto and Blake Hymel. Offensively, the Wildcats have plenty of firepower with Kade Granier, Tanner Hayes, Jesse Bryant, Benedetto and Hymel, who are all tearing it up in district play. Luquet said that offensive explosion has keyed the Wildcats win streak.
"Weíre really swinging the bats pretty good right now. Thatís been the biggest thing," he said. "Our pitching has stayed solid as well."
In a 10-0 win over Bonnabel on Tuesday, Destrehan pitchers Hunter Abadie and Nick McClendon combined to throw a no-hitter.
Heading into the season, Luquet thought his squad could have a special year, but he said the players actually matured faster than he thought they would.
"They just gelled early," he said.
But even though the Wildcats have had a very successful season so far, beating Hahnville will do a lot to boost the teamís confidence level. And that wonít be an easy task.
"We have to play error free. We canít give them extra outs because thatís what they thrive on," Luquet said. "We have to make them earn everything they get. We know their pitching staff will stand up, so we canít give them a big inning."
Luquet is just looking forward to getting on the field to experience the rivalry that he enjoys more than most.
"Itís always fun and there is such a great atmosphere," he said. "Thatís what makes it so special."
For results of the Destrehan-Hahnville game, check www.heraldguide.com. The game was originally scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at DHS on Thursday, but was rescheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. due to inclement weather.