Someone is going to go from a past runner-up to a state champion.
When St. Charles Catholic takes on University High in the Division II state championship game at noon on Tuesday in Lake Charles, it will be the first appearance for the Comets in the title game since a 3-1 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 2A finals.
U-High (29-7), meanwhile, returns to the Division II state championship game for the second year in a row after having lost 10-3 to Teurlings Catholic a year ago.
The Comets (31-8) know all too well about being a runner-up, having lost in the title game in all seven of the school’s previous trips to the championship game.
“I told the kids not to read all the nonsense about how many runner-up trophies…that’s got nothing to do with us,” Comets coach Wayne Stein said. “We are the 2019 baseball team and we are where we expected to be. We are playing at a high level and we know we are capable of winning; we know we are capable of losing.
“We have been in ‘win or go home,’ mentality since we lost that Friday at Teurlings (in the best of three quarterfinal series). We are comfortable doing that and we will try to get some pressure on them and let them see what that feels like. They have kind of been ahead and they won both their series 2-0 and they jumped out on Parkview in the first inning (of the semifinals). I think it’s imperative we jump on top from the get-go.”
SCC, the No. 6 seed, reached the state championship game with a 5-2 win over St. Thomas More, the No. 2 seed.
Top-seeded U-High advanced to the finals with a 4-0 win over Parkview Baptist, the No. 5 seed. The Cubs road the arm of Dylan Carmouche, a junior left-hander who tossed a two-hitter while striking out 15 Eagles batters.
“We know we are not seeing him, which is a good thing,” Stein said.
The Comets still will have to face him as a hitter.
“They are led by two college-level players in Jacob Burke and Dylan Carmouche. They hit one-two in the lineup and do a lot of damage,” said Stein.
Stein said he expects to see either Lance Wade or Alexsander Popov on the mound.
After another stellar postseason performance by Kaile Levatino in the semifinal win over St. Thomas More, the Comets are expected to pitch either Nick Lorio or Caleb St. Martin in Tuesday’s title game.
“I think both teams are in a similar situation. They’ve got quality Sunday-level guys ready to throw and it will be whoever plays well for two hours,” Stein said.