The Hahnville Tigers have been in the shadow of No. 2 ranked Destrehan for much of this season, but will get their first shot to eclipse the Wildcats when the teams face off on Friday.
The Tigers have been impressive on defense so far in district play, allowing only three runs in four games.
Hahnville head coach David Baudry said his defensive play and pitching has carried the team as they have racked up a 19-7 record over the season.
"Weíve really consistently pitched well and some of our losses offensively we just didnít do enough to win, but defensively and on the mound weíve been very good all year," he said.
However, against John Ehret on Tuesday, Baudry said starting pitcher Todd Porche struggled early before regaining his composure only to be later being taken out of the game for an injury in the top of the sixth. Tyler Lamers was brought in to secure the win.
"Porche had not started a game in 10 days and it looked like he was kind of knocking the rust off in the first two innings, but in the top of the third when he came in he was dominant all the way through the sixth," he said. "Ehret is a very good offensive team and he gave up five hits in the first two innings and they ended up with six hits total."
Although Baudry feels his team has performed well on the defensive side of the ball, he said his squad has started to focus on their offense.
"Weíve put in a lot of work in the past five days in batting practice. Going into last Saturdayís game against Higgins, I just felt we werenít aggressive at the plate at all," he said. "We were very, very passive and Iíve found over the years if you kind of increase batting practice usually your teams are going to start swinging the bat a little better."
In a 3-1 loss to No. 1 ranked Barbe and a 3-0 loss to 4A No. 1 ranked St. Thomas More, Baudry said his team failed to capitalize on their at bats.
"Those games came down to us not being able to produce a big hit when we needed it because we had chances in both those games," he said.
Hahnvilleís most productive batters on the year have been juniors Dylan Keller, Todd Porche and Tyler Lamers, as well as senior Tyler Simmons. However, Baudry said another senior has recently stepped up their offense.
"About three weeks ago we inserted Michael Landry into our lineup and he has had multiple hits in every game," he said.
Landry was a backup shortstop, but was moved into the outfield to provide depth in the batting order.
"Heís sparked the bottom of our lineup," Baudry said. "Heís really adjusted well to playing the outfield and we just watched him in batting practice and realized we needed to give him a chance. Since we have heís really made the most of it."
Landry had three hits in Tuesdayís 8-3 win against Ehret, including two RBIs and a double.
Baudry said he hopes making tweaks in their offensive game, such as inserting Landry into the lineup, is what will help his team beat Destrehan.
"We are going to have to continue to play good defense and it will probably come down to who can get the big hit," Baudry said.
The winner of the Hahnville-Destrehan game will be in the driverís seat for the District 8-5A crown.
But until his team beat Ehret, Baudry said they didnít talk about the rival Wildcats.
"Up until six oíclock today we didnít talk about them (DHS) or follow what they were doing or go see them play or anything like that," he said. "They are just having a tremendous year and they have good players and (Destrehan head coach) Marty (Luquet) always has a team that plays a very hard and very aggressive style.
"It is going to be very difficult to go over there and win on Thursday, but I think our guys are up to the challenge."
Baudry downplayed the importance of winning the district title and instead said he is focused on improving his teamís power ranking. Currently, the Tigers are ranked No. 12.
"District titles are important, but power points are more important," Baudry said. "Our first goal is to be in the top 16, our second goal would be in the top eight and the overriding goal would be to win a district title."
Baudry is still placing a lot of emphasis on playing well against Destrehan though.
"Itís interesting for me to be part of this Hahnville-Destrehan rivalry. This one is unique in the fact that the boys have played together most of their lives," Baudry said. "But when they get in between those white lines, it is a knockdown drag out and my team is going to compete and Destrehan is going to compete as hard as they can."
For the results of the Hahnville-Destrehan 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.