For Byrd’s first-year baseball coach Greg Williams, handling a team that starts as many as six freshmen and sophomores can be tricky.
But the Yellow Jackets (9-9) are finding their groove, winning three of four games this past weekend in the Barbe tournament and taking five of their last seven.
Byrd beat Dutchtown 9-8 in extra innings Saturday, improving the Yellow Jackets’ record to 3-1 in extra-inning games and 5-2 in one-run games that included a 5-4 win against Calvary on Saturday. Byrd also topped Beau Chene 11-0 before losing to powerhouse Barbe 17-0.
“Early on, we went down to the Jesuit tournament and lost a couple of one-run games,” Williams said.
“The biggest thing is we’re maturing as a team and coming together.
“We’re basically learning how to win. Even though we’re really young, we’ve got senior leadership in pitchers like Jeep Henderson and John Snyder.”
Every District 1-5A team is young, and Byrd will take its momentum into district play Thursday with a three-game series against Airline (5-8). The Vikings dropped games against Sam Houston and Alexandria in the Sulphur tournament.
“Parkway and Airline are young but talented, and there is a lot of youth in the district,” Williams said. “Haughton is playing really good ball, and with (Captain Shreve), the ability is certainly there. They are starting to come around with wins like West Monroe and Benton.”
Shreve (4-12) could be turning the corner as the Gators went 2-2 in the West Monroe tournament.
Shreve beat St. Louis and West Monroe but dropped contests to Ruston and Ouachita. The Gators have won three of their last five.
Meanwhile Haughton (8-9) dropped three of its four games in the Sulphur tournament and will try to improve a 2-6 skid when the Bucs open district play against Southwood.
Northwood (14-2) is the hottest team in the area after four wins in the Stanley tournament.
The Falcons, who ranked No. 4 in the latest LHSAA power ranking, have won seven of their last eight, including a 12-2 drubbing of 3A No. 6 North Webster.
Loyola visits Northwood on Tuesday to start District 1-4A play.
Evangel (9-7) is gaining steam with a 3-1 mark in the West Monroe tournament, including a pair of one-run wins against Neville and Ruston (nine innings). The Eagles lone loss came to Zachary.
“We’ve still been making a lot of mistakes defensively, but we’ve been pitching well and we’re starting to swing the bats a little better,” said Evangel coach Tim Hullett. “Playing against teams in larger classifications is tough because they usually have three or four good starting pitchers while lower classes may only have one or two.”
Patrick Crouch is the team’s leading hitter while Chance Defriend and Blake Buckman are also impacting the lineup.
North Caddo (6-4) has demonstrated its ability at the plate by scoring at least 10 runs in five of its six wins, including 15 or more runs in four wins. The Rebels get Simsboro on Monday, the only team this season to shut them out.
Cedar Creek and Florien also had impressive showings this past weekend.
The Cougars (13-2) won three games in the Sterlington tournament, including a 14-13 win over 2A No. 1 Oak Grove.
Florien (9-3) has won six straight, including three in the Many tournament. The Blackcats topped Anacoco and St. Mary’s in one-run fashion before handling Many 18-4.