A deep, young pitching staff has propelled Acadiana High to a 12-3 record and the No. 5 ranking in Class 5A as district play begins this week.
The Wreckin’ Rams, who host Lafayette High in Tuesday’s 4 p.m. 3-5A opener, have allowed an average of only 3.73 runs per game.
“Other than seniors Justin Brice and Ian Montz, the rest of our staff is juniors and sophomores,” Acadiana coach Clay Courtier said.
Last week, Brice got a win against No. 4 Walker by pitching 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts.
“Justin is 1-1 with some bad luck,” Courtier said. “Against Teurlings, he lost 6-0 but he gave up only one earned run. We had five errors in that game.”
Montz is 1-0 on the mound and has been wielding a hot bat.
“Ian had a slow start,” Courtier said. “He’s come around as of late and is hitting over .300.”
Junior right-hander Aaron Lanerie (3-0) and sophomore R.J. Davis (4-0) lead the Rams in wins.
“Lanerie can throw three pitches for strikes,” Courtier said. “He’s not going to overpower you. On Saturday against Denham Springs, he went seven innings, walked one, gave up one hit and threw only 78 pitches.
“That was his second time having an outing like that. R.J. is much the same way. He has a good fastball and breaking ball.”
Courtier said his pitchers have been throwing with confidence.
“We’re getting strong efforts,” he said. “Pitching has been our bright spot. We’ve limited our walks, which was a goal we set early on. We also wanted to attack the strike zone.
“One thing about our pitchers is that nothing bothers them too much. They keep their composure and don’t let the situation become too big or too small. They don’t get rattled, which has made a big difference for us.”
Sophomore Parker Gwyn starts at shortstop and has been clutch in relief.
“Last Tuesday, Parker got a big win at Dutchtown,” Courtier said. “He pitched three innings in relief, gave up one or two hits, and didn’t allow a run until the seventh inning.
“He’s been really good at the plate. Parker is our leading hitter right now with a .450 average. Cardell Thibodeaux is hitting .390. Parker, Cardell and Ian Montz each have one home run.”
Catcher Hunter Sellers and third baseman/outfielder Sean Thibeaux have also been swinging the bat well.
“Hunter has done a really good job with runners in scoring position,” Courtier said. “He’s our leading RBI guy and has done a tremendous job behind the plate. We expected that one of the keys to the season would be our defense behind the plate.
“Thibeaux, who has some pop in his bat, has a home run. He had a sacrifice fly against Dutchtown to tie it.”
As usual, District 3-5A is strong with No. 1 Barbe (19-0), No. 2 Sam Houston (17-2), No. 13 Southside (14-3), No. 16 New Iberia (14-5) and No. 22 Comeaux (15-4).
“You can’t take a day off in this district,” Courtier said. “We’ve been focusing on game situations in practice and getting better every day.
“We try not to focus on the opponent but to focus on us. We want to focus on what we have to do to get better to compete with the teams we have to face in this district.”