Eleven softball teams from schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans began their trek toward a possible state championship this week.
Seven earned high enough seeds to play their bi-district round games on their home fields.
Seeking a potential berth in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s “Fast Pitch 56” tournament in Sulphur May 2-3 are schools that represent seven area districts.
The highest seed is Cabrini, the co-champion of District 9-4A, which carried a 22-4 record into its Monday game against Westgate of New Iberia.
The Crescents received the No. 1 seed; Westgate (12-17), the No. 32 spot.
Mount Carmel, Ursuline Academy, the Academy of Our Lady, Archbishop Hannan, St. Charles Catholic and Pope John Paul II were also ranked among the top 16 in their respective classes and will have served as hosts.
Dominican, Archbishop Chapelle, St. Scholastica and St. Mary’s Academy qualified for the playoffs, but as lower seeds, and opened the post-season on the road.
Here’s a breakdown of the classes of interest:
Class 5A – The top four seeds are 1. St. Amant (28-1), 2. Ouachita Parish (21-4), 3. Live Oak (20-3), 4. Mount Carmel (19-8).
Mount Carmel, champion of the three-team District 9-5A, made it to the championship round last year only to lose the title game to Sam Houston, 8-0. The Cubs are back in a big way and open with No. 29 Central (13-9).
Chapelle (18-8) and Dominican (14-10) were runners-up to Mount Carmel in district play. Dominican is seeded at No. 18 and opened at Walker (18-9), while No. 22 Chapelle was at No. 11 Dutchtown (21-9).
Class 4A – The top four seeds are all Catholic schools: 1. Cabrini (23-4), 2. Teurlings Catholic (23-4), 3. Vandebilt Catholic (18-10) and St. Thomas More (20-5).
As a No. 8 seed, Ursuline Academy (18-9), which split its district games with Cabrini to gain a share of the league title, hosted No. 25 Northwood of Shreveport (10-16) on April 22. The Crescents and Lions share the upper playoff bracket and could meet again in the quarterfinals if they win their bi-district and regional round games.
Academy of Our Lady (19-8), which made the state tournament in 2012, has bounced back with a solid team intent on returning to Sulphur next week. The Penguins opened at home against No. 22 Rayne (14-9).
The three were eliminated one step from the state tournament in 2013. No. 10 Ursuline lost to No. 7 Teurlings Catholic, 7-0; No. 12 AOL fell to No. 5 DeRidder, 7-2; and No. 4 Belle Chasse beat No. 13 Cabrini, 6-2.
No. 20 St. Scholastica (15-10) won all eight of its District 8-4A games, but the Doves did not have enough power points to open at home. They were scheduled to play at No. 13 Beau Chene.
Class 3A – The top four seeds are 1. John Curtis (25-2), 2. Kaplan (22-5), 3. Brusly (21-8), 4. Notre Dame (19-5). Brusly is the 2013 champion.
This class has just one school from the archdiocese – St. Charles Catholic (20-8), a regular participant in the quarterfinal round in Sulphur. The Comets are the No. 13 seed and will be in LaPlace for a bi-district round meeting with No. 20 E.D. White. But their task gets more difficult if they move on as they face No. 4 Notre Dame, which is expected to eliminate No. 29 Rayville, in the regional round.
Class 2A – The top four seeds are 1. Oak Grove (24-4), 2. Calvary Baptist (24-5), 3. Menard (24-9) and 4. Rosepine (22-6).
No. 12 Archbishop Hannan (19-9) opened at Coquille Recreation Center against No. 21 French Settlement (12-10) on April 22.
Hannan won back-to-back Class 1A titles in 2011 and 2012, and then lost the 2013 championship game to Catholic of Pointe Coupee, 4-3. This year, the Hawks move up in class and are still in the upper echelon of title contenders.
No. 14 Pope John Paul II (15-8) hosts No. 19 Doyle.
The Lady Jaguars shared the District 8-2A crown with Hannan after splitting their two-game series. Last year, as a No. 11 seed, the Lady Jags were upset by No. 22 Many in the first round.
St. Mary’s Academy posted a fine 16-6 record, but its power rating earned a No. 24 and sent the Cougars on the road in the bi-district round against No. 9 Many (16-10).
Three durable pitchers, whose mound work accounted for most of their teams’ collective 59 victories, will be in action as the road to the state championship tournament moves into its opening rounds. Betbeze is on the mound for the No. 4 seed in Class 5A, Mount Carmel; Jurisich, who hurled the Lions to a 5-1 win over Cabrini to force a tie for the District 9-4A title, will also play shortstop when not on the hill. Just a sophomore, Perque has been the mainstay for the Crescents, who forged their way to the top of Class 4A as the No. 1 seed.