'This is an expectation': How Ouachita Christian clinched another trip to the LHSAA baseball state tournament
Consider this before jumping to conclusions about the Ouachita Christian baseball team.
While No. 8 Covenant Christian did pull within a run in Game 2 of the Division IV quarterfinals, understanding what the top-seeded Eagles have been through this season adds vital context to the situation.
OCS had already lost ace Kade Woods, an Alabama signee, to a season-ending elbow injury in April. Despite Woods’ absence, the Eagles held their own in a loaded District 2-1A that includes Oak Grove, the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A bracket.
It was going to take more than a seventh-inning rally to scare this bunch.
“We had confidence that our relievers were going to throw strikes and let our defense play,” OCS coach John Parker said. “It got a little hairy there, but we made some big pitches and limited the damage.
Cal Idom closed the series-deciding 3-2 win at Micah Harper Field on Saturday. Idom held Covenant Christian to one run despite walking the leadoff batter and a throwing error from the Eagles.
OCS (22-10) clinched its fifth LHSAA state tournament appearance in seven full seasons under Parker, who reached 200 wins during the postseason. The Eagles play No. 5 Catholic-Pointe Coupee at 2 p.m. Wednesday at McMurry Park in Sulphur.
“Our kids have realized this is an expectation,” Parker said. “We’re OCS baseball and we feel like our program is pretty well respected throughout the state. I think our kids kind of took it as a challenge because we weren’t playing our best at the end of the season.
“This is what people expect of us and they’ve turned up the intensity and the focus.”
The trick for OCS is to repeat its performance from Game 1 against Covenant Christian. Tied 2-2 in the third inning, the Eagles dialed in and 10-run ruled the Lions. Aiden Harris lit up Covenant with a grand slam while Casey Cobb contributed a two-RBI single.
“It was really good to see us come out against a quality pitcher and hit like we did,” Parker said. “We’ve had really good practices over the last few weeks and I think our kids know that this is what OCS baseball is about.”
Parker coached OCS to the school’s eighth baseball state championship in 2019. One year ago, the Eagles were leading the Division IV standings when the LHSAA canceled the remaining spring sports season in response to COVID-19.
“We had several kids that were in the dugout on that team in 2019, but we also have a lot of kids that have never been down there before,” Parker said. “I fully believe that they still look at this as a business trip. They know what’s been set before them by past teams and we still have two games to go to win a state championship.”
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