Sports Front Page

Young Demons starting to gel

Eighth-grader pitcher Drew Clark got the first win of his career
as he helped Downsville Community Charter School beat Forest
8-4 on March 24, 2017 at Larry Stegall Field.
It’s common for a head coach in high school athletics
who knows they won’t be returning the next season to
build a schedule that will doom his successor to failure.
First-year Downsville Community Charter School
baseball coach Blake Wolfe has only himself to blame.
An assistant last year under head coach Norm Tassin,
Wolfe was able to select the teams the Demons played as
they prepped for District 1-C competition. Wolfe wanted
to see his young team tested early and often. They have
played three games against Class 2A Jonesboro-Hodge,
whose 13-2 record includes three wins over the Demons. In
two other games against Class 2A competition, the Demons
dropped both to North Caddo and Sterlington, who have
records of 11-5 and 15-4, respectively.
“We did it for two reasons,” Wolfe said. “First, playing
teams in a higher classification than us increases our
power rating. It also allows us to see good pitching like
we’ll face when we get to the postseason. When we get into
the playoffs, we’ll see pitching that we wouldn’t see if we
played a schedule of teams just in Class C and Class B.
They will be the quality of pitchers we’ve seen all year.”
Wolfe said the early part of the season has been an
ongoing experiment of sorts to evaluate the Demons’
strengths and weaknesses.
“We’ve seen enough now that we’re starting to have
people in the right position and in the right places in our
(batting) order,” Wolfe said. “Before we started the season,
our goal was to be turning the corner in the last part of
March and first part of April, and I think we’re there.”
Downsville will be trying to make its fourth straight
trip to the Allstate/Sugar Bowl LHSAA Baseball Tournament
May 10-13 in Sulphur, having lost seven seniors off
last year’s team that lost in the Class C finals to Claiborne
Christian, 6-2. Evidence of Wolfe’s efforts to learn who
fits best where can be found on the Demons’ roster, which
doesn’t list players by position. It shows just two seniors
– Caleb Hinton and Dakota Duet – with three juniors, two
sophomores, a freshman and eight eighth graders.
Despite being in a four-team district, the only District
1-C games Downsville will play this season are against
Summerfield. Neither New Living Word nor Gibsland field
baseball teams. The teams will play each other three times
during April, with just one of those games at the newly
named Larry Stegall Field. Again, with an eye toward being
ready for the postseason and playing away from home,
seven of the Demons last nine games are on the road.
“There’s a great tradition here at Downsville, an expectation
to make a deep run in the playoffs,” Wolfe said. “I
believe we’ve started to turn the corner and have reached
the part of our schedule where we can compete against
the teams we’re facing.”

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