Bucs, Tors in national spotlight, district rivals start two-game series

Published 9:24 am Saturday, April 8, 2023

Two of the nation’s top high school baseball teams will face off in a two-game series over the next four days when longtime District 3-5A rivals Barbe and Sulphur meet.

Both teams were ranked Tuesday in the top 50 in the nation by perfectgame.org. Barbe was at No. 4 while the Tors were 38th.

The Tors (25-2, 12-0) are riding a 13-game win streak and lead the district, while the Bucs (29-1, 11-1) are a game back of the Tors and have won 10 consecutive games since their lone loss on March 18 to Sam Houston.

Today’s game will start at 4 p.m. at Barbe High School. The second game will be played at 6 p.m. Tuesday at McMurry Park in Sulphur.

The teams are loaded with college prospects, and each is expected to throw their ace on the mound today in Barbe junior Landon Victorian, who has not walked a batter this season, and Sulphur senior Jake Brown, who has 71 strikeouts in 41 innings. Both are bound for LSU.

“It doesn’t get much bigger,” Barbe head coach Glenn Cecchini said. “We are doing the chasing. Sulphur is in front. It is going to be epic.

“I don’t know if this has ever happened in the history of high school baseball. You have Jake Brown, who played on Team USA and is going to be a top draft pick, pitching against the No. 1 right-handed pitcher in his class in Landon Victorian, who is invited to Team USA to make the team.”

The couple of weeks could have a big impact on the top five teams in nonselect Division I with the end of the regular season on April 17 fast approaching. Barbe is ranked No. 2 while the Tors are No. 5. Sulphur also has a two-game series with No. 3 Sam Houston on April 13 and 15.

“It is the next game on our schedule,” said Tors head coach Sam Moore, who will be retiring at the end of the season. “That is the way we approach it. We are excited to be in the position we are in right now. We are going to play it like we have played all the other games, as hard as we can.”

The Tors were tested in their last two games. They scored one in the top of the seventh inning on Tuesday to beat Southside 4-3 on the road in Lafayette, then got a walk-off RBI hit from Brown to win 1-0 over the Sharks on Wednesday at home.

“To get those two wins against a top-ranked team was big for us,” Moore said. “That is kind of the momentum that we needed to carry going into (today’s) game.

“We have been getting great pitching, and that is what has been carrying us right now. We are getting the timely hits that we need and our defense is playing outstanding right now. That is the three ingredients that you need to win games.

“Barbe is Barbe. They are very well-coached. They just reload every year. They pitch it very well. They are real similar to us. They play good defense and swing it, so it ought to be a great matchup.”