'Jacks will travel to Rayville
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
Patterson High School baseball coach Ryan Jensen has scheduled a regular season game somewhere far away during the regular season in recent years to prepare his squad for a possible playoff situation.
Now, his squad will get to see how well that plan has worked as the No. 21 seed ’Jacks head to No. 12 Rayville today for a 5:30 p.m. matchup.
Earlier this season, the ’Jacks participated in the Caldwell Tournament in north Louisiana, and today, the squad will pass through Caldwell as they travel slightly further north and to the east to Richland Parish for the matchup.
“We’re used to this road trip,” Jensen said. “It’s not much different.”
Jensen said the key for his squad (17-12 overall, 5-7 in District 9-3A play) would be their stop along the way at Mangham High School where the ’Jacks will be allowed to take batting practice, something that would help break up the monotony of the roughly 4½ hour road trip.
In addition to the long road trip, the Caldwell Tournament may have given the ’Jacks another benefit because Franklin Parish High School, Caldwell and Mangham, three teams the ’Jacks faced in that tournament, are all squads Rayville has played this year.
Rayville beat Franklin Parish twice, won two out of three against Caldwell and lost to Mangham.
Patterson lost to Franklin Parish and Mangham, while the squad defeated Caldwell.
Patterson’s loss to Franklin Parish, though, is a game that Jensen said he thought is one in which the ’Jacks should have run-ruled their opposition, considering they blew a 9-2 lead in a 13-10 loss.
“We tried to coast to the end,” Jensen said. “We just kind of let them off the hook and bad things happened. I’m actually hoping they (Rayville) looks at that and kind of take us lightly” since Rayville pounded Franklin Parish in both matchups.
The Hornets enter today’s matchup as the champion of District 2-3A. The squad finished the regular season with a 20-10 overall mark and a 6-0 record in district play.
The fact that the squad won 20 games is a big attention getter, Jensen said.
“That’s kind of the infamous number,” he said. “If you win 20 games, it kind of elevates your status.”
If his squad were to pull off the upset today, Jensen said it would need solid pitching and good defense.
Spencer Landry will get the start on the mound for the ’Jacks today.
“You got to throw strikes,” Jensen said. “That’s why we’re starting Spencer Landry on the mound. He throws the most strikes. You can’t give people free opportunities (walks). That’s where it starts (to hurt you).
“If we make key routine plays, we win,” Jensen added. “We got enough guys where we can score enough runs. If we can make plays around Spencer, we got a good shot.”
After a hot start to the season, the ’Jacks dropped six consecutive games — all district contests — before regaining some momentum.
“We finished 17-12, but we had a two week stretch where we lost six game in a row,” Jensen said. “We couldn’t field a ball to save our lives. I think our record didn’t show how good we’ve been all season.”