Home sweet home was the sentiment offered by Hahnville coach David Baudry earlier this week about his team’s upcoming three-game Class 5A second round series with Sulphur, and for good reason. It was a year ago at this time when Hahnville made a trip to Baton Rouge in this same round for a three game set with Catholic High, splitting two games before ultimately falling in a third elimination game, 5-1.
This time, the Tigers’ opponent will be making the trip, as Hahnville has home field as the No. 8 seed — Sulphur is No. 9. The first game of the series is set for Friday at 4 p.m. Game two is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday with a third game, if necessary, starting 45 minutes after the end of the second.
Baudry believes that not only will home field provide a lift for his team for a potential workload of three games in two days, but that players have grown stronger for experiencing last year’s tough second round series.
“For a grueling three games in 24 hours … being able to be at home and stay in our normal routine will be very important for us,” Baudry said. “They things we learned last year should really pay dividends.”
Hahnville (25-10) and Sulphur (21-13) have squared off once this season, a 10-4 Hahnville win on April 8. But though the Tigers won that game decisively, Baudry has no illusions that this series will be anything but a tight one. Both teams possess strong pitching staffs, he said, with a stout Sulphur rotation anchored by Chance Stone, Andrew Sheridan and Connor Cooke.
“They’re seasoned veterans,” Baudry said. “They have some really good arms at the top of their rotation. They’re also a very good team offensively. I feel like, as you’d expect with an 8-9 matchup, it’s a really evenly-matched series coming in.”
Hahnville’s staff, meanwhile, has established itself as one of the state’s best. Austin Perrin, a Louisiana-Lafayette committed left-hander, boasts a 0.91 ERA and .074 WHIP over 61 innings this season. He’s struck out 95 batters and walked 13 en route to a 7-2 record. Matt Champagne has gone 5-2 with a 0.70 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 35 strikeouts and 14 walks in 50 innings. David Vial is unbeaten at 7-0 with a 2.33 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and a 36-to-15 strikeout to walk ratio.
“We do feel very good about our staff,” Baudry said. “We probably go six or seven deep, with three guys that have really good ERAs and really good records. We have a lot of confidence in them, and we have other guys we know we can rely on to get outs as well.”
Both the second round and quarterfinals are contested over three game series. The state baseball tournament will then revert to single elimination.
Hahnville defeated Thibodaux Tuesday in the opening round of the 5A playoffs, earning a 10-0 win that ended by the 10 run rule after five innings.
Perrin earned the win on the mound, pitching a complete game shutout and one-hitter. He struck out nine and walked one.
Hahnville broke the game wide open in the fourth. Already leading 2-0, Hahnville sent 12 batters to the plate and cranked out eight runs, highlighted by RBI doubles by Lloyd Landry and Perrin.
“Once we turned the lineup over, I thought we had great at-bats,” Baudry said. “Everyone fed off of each other.”
Waylon LeBlanc went 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Perrin went 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Beau Landry went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
It was the third time this season Hahnville had faced Thibodaux, a District 7-5A rival, and the second time within a week. HHS won all three meetings this season.
“We have a lot of respect for Thibodaux, and being in first round, you can’t move on if you don’t win,” Baudry said. “We were hoping to be able to limit (Perrin’s) pitch count. When we were able to get those runs to end the game in the fifth inning, that kept his total way down and that was ideal for us.”