Destrehan looks to fell nationally ranked foe in quarterfinals

DHS closer Avery Schexnaydre delivers to home plate in the late innings of Destrehan’s win Saturday.

After a whirlwind of a week that saw Destrehan win a wild first round playoff game and earn a second round series sweep, the Wildcats have suddenly been able to enjoy a full week of relative calm leading into its Class 5A quarterfinal series at No. 2 Sam Houston — or, in some ways, endure it.

“Our guys have been itching … they’ve been kinda bummed it’s not gameday already,” said Destrehan coach Chris Mire, about to coach in his first quarterfinal since taking the helm as DHS head coach. “Last week, though, felt like a month and a week. Emotionally, it was draining. I think everyone appreciated having Sunday off, and probably for our mental and physical state, it’s good to have the off time.

“But I know our guys have been wishing it were game day.”

His players won’t have to wait long now. They’re soon off to Lake Charles to face off with Sam Houston in a best-of-three series that begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. Game two is scheduled for Saturday at noon, with a third game, if necessary, to follow.

The challenge awaiting the 10th seeded Wildcats(24-9)  is daunting. Sam Houston (34-4) is a powerhouse that ranks fifth nationally in the USA Today Super 25 baseball rankings. The Broncos’ stellar pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs in Class 5A and are in the midst of an 11 game winning streak. Sam Houston advanced by besting Denham Springs in a two-game second round sweep, winning each game in five innings by the 10-run rule, 12-2 and 12-0.

The Broncos have allowed just 52 total runs, with no team scoring more than five in any game this season. Only three times this season has Sam Houston allowed more than three runs. The staff is led by senior right-hander Cameron Meeks and junior right-hander Kyle Bartley; the two also power the middle of the team’s batting lineup.

“The biggest challenge for us is going to be finding a way to score runs,” Mire said. “They have an abundance of very good arms, guys who throw hard and also have great breaking pitches.

“This is a year they’ve been waiting on. They’re a senior-laden, veteran team with tremendous talent,” Mire said.

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