For at least the first round of the upcoming state playoffs, District 1-5A’s baseball stadiums will be empty.
When the Class 5A brackets were announced Saturday, four 1-5A teams were in the 32-team field, but none had a home game.
Captain Shreve, the district champion, is the area’s top seed at No. 19. The Gators open the playoffs at 14th-seeded Denham Springs on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The Gators are familiar with the Yellow Jackets, having played them earlier this season, a 6-5 loss in Denham’s first game of the season. Last season, Shreve went on the road and grabbed a first-round win before falling to Byrd in the second round.
“We start anywhere from five to six seniors on any given day,” Gators coach Todd Sharp said. “It’s a mature group. They’ve bought into our offensive philosophy. There are so many things in a game seniority helps with. They have the composure to keep pushing, even when we’re down, to keep having quality at-bats. It’s a good group of guys.”
Joining the Gators in the playoffs are No. 23 seed Airline, which plays at Zachary at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The Vikings returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
In their last postseason run, Airline fell to Zachary in the second round of the 2011 playoffs.
“It’s different kids, but the same program for both of us,” Vikings coach Toby Todd said. “I think Daulton Gould is the only kid we have who was starting for us last time. I’m happy for the kids. It’s something we expect at Airline, and now they get to be a part of it.”
Haughton earned the No. 25 seed and is in the playoffs for the second time in as many seasons as a 5A school. The Bucs will travel to Covington to face No. 8 seed St. Paul’s on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
“In 5A, there’s no good draws,” Haughton coach Glenn Maynor said. “Everybody’s good, one through 342. There are teams in 5A that don’t make the playoffs that are good. (St. Paul’s) is a good program. It will be tough, but we’ve got a No. 1 (Josh Walker), and if he pitches well, and we play well, we have a chance to win.”
Byrd’s chances to make its fourth state tournament appearance in five years begin with a first-round game at seventh-seeded Hahnville.