LHSAA baseball: Predicting the 2022 high school state champions
The LHSAA baseball state semifinals and championship games will be held Wednesday through Saturday. High school sports writers around Louisiana from the USA Today Sports Network have picked who they believe will win state championships in the select and non-select state championships on Saturday.
Here are our selections:
LaMar Gafford: West Monroe: Really tempted to pick Sulphur here, but with Barbe out of the way, the Rebels are the most talented team in 5A — led by Ole Miss commitment Hayden Federico and LSU commitment John Pearson.
Emely Hernandez: West Monroe: Ole Miss commit Hayden Federico, LSU commit John Pearson, Trey Hawsey and Brennan Eager have been clutch all season and the Rebels are hot.
Chris Singleton: West Monroe: St. Amant shocked the state by knocking off No. 1 Barbe, but it will be hard for anyone to take out No. 2 West Monroe.
Jimmy Watson: West Monroe: With No. 1 Barbe busted off the bracket we’re going with No. 2 to bring home the hardware.
Gafford: North Vermilion: The Patriots were under the radar last season when they defeated Tioga for the Class 4A title last year, but there is no doubt they are the best team this year. .
Hernandez: South Terrebonne: South Terrebonne knocked down No. 2 Neville in the regional and have continued its trail of upsets.
Singleton: South Terrebonne: South Terrebonne has overcome many setbacks this year, including from Hurricane Ida in the Houma area, but they are a good team.
Watson: North DeSoto: The Griffins (32-2) have a senior laden group who have been playing together for a long time. Can that chemistry get them through?
Gafford: Iota: The final four in Class 3A is a good one with No. 1 seed Berwick and last year’s title game participants (Sterlington and Lutcher) still alive, but the Bulldogs have Arizona signee Tyler LeJeune and have been consistent.
Hernandez: Sterlington: The Panthers have always held their ground, especially in the playoffs. Despite the target on their backs as defending champs, they've got the skillset for the three-peat.
Singleton: Berwick: Berwick plays team baseball and knows how to get big hits in key situations.
Watson: Berwick: There’s no reason to doubt the Panthers (27-7) who outscored Grant 26-6 in the quarterfinals.
Gafford: Rosepine: LSU signee Ethan Frey has hit 12 home runs this season, but they are really deep and can give a lot of bigger schools a run for their money with players such as Louisiana Tech commitment Jake Smith.
Hernandez: Rosepine: The Eagles have been on fire in the box, making light work of their opponents in the postseason.
Singleton: Rosepine: Rosepine has only two losses this season. Good luck to anyone trying to knock them off.
Watson: Rosepine: Logan Calcote is a formidable hitter for the Eagles and should be enough to give them a shot at the title.
Gafford: Grand Lake: The Hornets have gotten to Sulphur numerous times, but have never won the title. That changes this year.
Hernandez: Oak Grove: The young Tigers started off the year on the wrong foot after winning the 2021 state title, but that rough patch is just enough motivation for them to claim the title again.
Singleton: Grand Lake: No. 2 LaSalle will put up a fight, but I think No. 1 Grand Lake will have just enough to bring home the state title.
Watson: Grand Lake: The Hornets (19-6) may have a tough time getting past Logansport this week, but will likely surpass their runner-up finish last season.
Gafford: Choudrant: The Aggies might have lost their top two pitchers from last year’s championship team, but they do enter Sulphur on a 12-game winning streak.
Hernandez: Quitman: Currently on a five-game win streak, the Wolverines have only allowed one run in the playoffs.
Singleton: Choudrant: Choudrant has a nice body of work this season. That experience will pay off in Sulphur.
Watson: Quitman: The Wolverines don’t have a stellar record at 15-12, but they’ve won 9 of 10 games and only allowed one run in two playoff games.
Gafford: Hicks: Central Louisiana is guaranteed a champion, but there is a reason why District 3-C is one of the toughest districts and has put a team in the title game every tournament since the split in 2017.
Hernandez: Simpson: Despite finishing the season 6-11, Simpson has been on an upset frenzy.
Singleton: Calvin: Calvin knows how to hold its own. Expect them to hold up a state championship trophy this season.
Watson: Calvin: The Cougars only played 15 games prior to the playoffs, but with No. 1 Harrisonburg eliminated, they have a shot at winning it all.
Gafford: Catholic-BR: The Bears will have to go through two Catholic League schools to win the Division I title, but should be able to get it done.
Hernandez: Catholic - B.R.: College level talent deep the in the Bears lineup brings them to title.
Singleton: Catholic-Baton Rouge: The other three Division I teams will make it interesting, but I don’t think anyone has what it takes to knock off Catholic.
Watson: Catholic-BR: With Louisiana Tech commit Matthew Reinholz and Louisiana Lafayette commit Dalton Robichaux in the lineup, the Bears will be hard to stop.
Gafford: Vandebilt Catholic: I will pick the Terriers here because of what the Bayou Region has gone through since Hurricane Ida. Everyone loves a feel-good story.
Hernandez: University Lab: The Cubs took down No. 1 Teurlings Catholic in the quarterfinal, in run-rule fashion.
Singleton: Vandebilt Catholic: The Terriers have one of the state best senior pitchers in Owen Schexnaydre. They also have a scrappy group of experienced players to shock the state in the championship.
Watson: St. Louis Catholic: The Saints should go marching into the state championship game and win it all.
Gafford: St. Thomas Aquinas: The Falcons are playing at home for the semifinals and playing a virtual home game for the championship. Yeah, count me in.
Hernandez: St. Thomas Aquinas: St. Thomas Aquinas played up all season and proved they can put up a fight.
Singleton: St. Thomas Aquinas: St. Thomas Aquinas has defeated some top programs in the state during the regular season.
Watson: St. Thomas Aquinas: Currently on a 14-game winning streak, nothing appears to be able to stop the Falcons from their destiny.
Gafford: St. Frederick: The Warriors have good draw to win the title. St. Fred defeated Ouachita Christian earlier this season and can match with the winner of the other semifinal game between Calvary/Covenant Christian.
Hernandez: Ouachita Christian: The Eagles have been consistent all season with losses coming from bigger classes.
Singleton: Ouachita Christian: OCS is one of the state’s top baseball programs. They’ll find a way to get it done again.
Watson: Calvary Baptist: Seems like the Cavs are always in the final four and Blaine Rogers, Aubrey Hermes and Sawyer Fowler are among the athletes who make it happen.
Gafford: Claiborne Christian: The Crusaders never have a sterling record, but Chad Olinde always challenges his team with a brutal schedule and the results generally pay off.
Hernandez: Claiborne Christian: The Crusaders rolled right through St. Joseph's - Plaucheville to reach the semifinals.
Singleton: Claiborne Christian: Claiborne Christian has the pitching and hitting needed to win it all in Division V.
Watson: Claiborne Christian: The Crusaders are the only team remaining with a losing record (8-16), so why not win it all by barely getting into double-digit wins?
Jimmy Watson covers Shreveport-Bossier area sports. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @JimmyWatson6.