Locals hit the road for huge weekend|[3/16/06]
Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2006
VHS, WC in Louisiana showcase; PCA in Jackson.
While college basketball fans around the country are enjoying the excitement of the NCAA Tournament, Warren County’s baseball teams are putting on their own version of March Madness this week.
All four teams – Warren Central, Vicksburg High, St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel – will play, or have played, in spring break tournaments, taking advantage of nice weather and a week off from school to cram in as many games as they can.
Email newsletter signup
“It’s just spring break. We have the days to do it,” said WC coach Randy Broome, whose team will be heading to Monroe, La., for the Ouachita tournament on Friday. “Scheduling has gotten so tough, that any time you can talk with one person and knock out four or five games, you go for it.”
Getting quality opponents for those games is also a bonus.
Vicksburg will join Warren Central in the Ouachita tournament for the second straight year and third time in five years. This will be WC’s fourth spring break in Monroe since 2002. The high level of competition and the hospitality of the tournament hosts are what keep both teams coming back, coaches said.
Of the five teams the Vikings and Gators will face between them this weekend – each team will play four games – three are ranked in their respective classes in the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association Top 10 poll.
Four of the five made the playoffs last season, including West Ouachita and Dutchtown, which have won the last two LHSAA Class 4A titles.
“We feel like we’re going to get tested every time we tee it up over there. The quality of the teams is as good as playing a Northwest Rankin or Madison Central over here,” Vicksburg coach Jamie Creel said. “We enjoy going over there. It’s just as close as driving to Jackson, and it’s a first-class deal.”
Both Creel and Broome may have to keep their competitive fires in check this weekend. They must strike a balance between being competitive against top-notch teams and preparing for next week’s key division games against each other.
Warren Central is currently in first place in Division 3-5A, with a 4-0 record, while VHS is second at 3-1. The teams play two games, next Tuesday and Friday, that will go a long way toward determining the division championship.
Both Creel and Broome said they were looking toward those games, and not the tournament, when setting up their pitching rotations.
“We’ll sacrifice games over there to have our pitching ready for next week,” Creel said.
“This tournament is always a good challenge but we’re using it as a tuneup for Tuesday night’s game with Vicksburg,” Broome said. “Everyone of our regular starters will be on a pitch count. We may go 2-2-2 in each game.”
The Vikings and Gators aren’t the only teams facing tough competition this week.
St. Aloysius played two games at the Lake tournament on Monday, including an 11-6 loss to South State finalist Union, and defeated Nanih Waiya 9-6 on Tuesday and lost to tournament host Lake on Wednesday. The Flashes also will host Madison-St. Joe on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Porters Chapel played four games in the Veritas tournament on Friday and Saturday, and is gearing up for another run of four games in three days this weekend.
PCA will host Glenbrook today at 5 p.m. in a makeup of an earlier rainout, then travel to Jackson to face undefeated Jackson Academy, Jackson Prep and Benton Academy in another tournament on Friday and Saturday.
“It’s an opportunity, with us being out of school, to play a lot of baseball and not worry about homework and having to get the kids home early,” PCA coach Randy Wright said.
The game against Benton on Saturday will provide the Eagles both a chance for revenge and a chance to scout. Benton won a second-round playoff series between the schools last year, and they are likely to meet in the postseason again this season.
Baseball March Madness.
4:30 p.m. – Vicksburg at Ouachita.
5 p.m. – Porters Chapel hosts Glenbrook.
2:30 p.m. – PCA vs. Jackson Acad. (at Jackson Prep).
4:30 p.m. – Vicksburg vs. West Ouachita (at Ouachita).
4:30 p.m. – Warren Central vs. Dutchtown (at Neville).
7 p.m. – Warren Central at Neville.
12:15 p.m. – Vicksburg vs. Barbe (at Ouachita).
1 p.m. – St. Aloysius hosts Madison-St. Joe.
2:30 p.m. – Porters Chapel at Jackson Prep.
3:45 p.m. – Vicksburg at Neville.
4:30 p.m. – Warren Central vs W. Ouachita (at Ouachita).
7 p.m. – Warren Central at Ouachita