LSU-Texas game should be good one

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2000

LSU’s Tigers may not hit a tap in the prestigious College World Series that starts in Omaha, Neb., but I have to say that I believe LSU definitely has a real good baseball team.

Texas, LSU’s weekend opponent, is another perennial CWS baseball power, but coach Skip Bertman’s 48-17 Tigers have gone 4-0 in post-season playoffs and are probably favored over the Longhorns. The No. 2 Tigers and No. 6 Horns play Saturday at 6 p.m.

Who can ever forget the monumental late home run by LSU to take the 1997 CWS title at Omaha? It was a dramatic moment for not only the Tigers and their fans, but for the Southeastern Conference. It was LSU’s fourth college baseball championship.

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The CWS format is double elimination, of course, giving any and all teams that extra chance, same as in the Super Regionals. But LSU has not yet known defeat, socking UCLA 8-2 and 14-8 in the two-game Baton Rouge Regional.

Speaking of Regional play, the SEC’s &uot;other&uot; really good baseball team, No. 15 Mississippi State, bit the dust in a surprising two-game exit at Clemson. The Tigers simply had too much pitching, particularly relief.

Funny thing about Pat McMahon’s usually heavy-hitting Bulldogs during their two-day stand at Clemson. They got to Tiger hurlers pretty good, but Clemson hitters got to MSU pitchers even better as State lost 11-4 and 9-4. Bulldog pitchers simply could not silence Clemson bats.

It’s almost eerie that Clemson starters meantime lasted only three innings between them. Coach McMahon’s Dogs simply failed to hit in the clutch, and that spelled two and out. Look for State to be right in the thick of things next season, though.

Ferriday High football fans never knew better days — and years — than those of 1953-56. Coach Johnny &uot;Red&uot; Robertson and his Bulldogs unbelievably were unbeaten in 54 games during that time. They were 52-0-2, with both ties coming in the same season, 1955.

FHS started 1953 losing 20-19 to Class A Westlake (Ferriday was Class B). What a run the Bulldogs then launched – their teams didn’t lose again until the first game of 1957, when Jonesville beat them 19-7.

Ferriday was moved to Class A in 1954, but the Dogs continued to win. In fact, Ferriday High moved through all competition to a state Class A championship. Center-linebacker Max Fugler became FHS’ first football player to make All-America.

Springhill scared the 1955 Bulldogs before losing 26-20 to the Dogs, who were 14-0 and state champions for the third straight year, having won the Class B title with that surprising 12-1 record in 1953. Great players abounded at FHS.

Max Fugler, who was third-team All-America in 1954, was first-team in 1955. And four teammates joined him on the state’s first All-Star team: Tony Brocato, Manson Nelson, Guy Hill and Buddy Long. Meantime, the &uot;streak&uot; had reached 39 with outh a loss by season’s end.

Yet another Class A championship was to be FHS’ in 1956, although the Bulldogs would be tie twice. They stretched their all-winning streak to 41 before being tied 13-13 by Jena. They were again tied 13-13, this time by Tallulah, but the Bulldogs would avenge that tie with an exciting 18-13 victory over the Trojans to again advance to the playoffs. It wasn’t over until late in the fourth quarter.

I know this isn’t news to many, but let’s finish this remarkable reflection run by reminding that coach Robertson’s Bulldogs of 1956 won the school’s fourth state title in a row, blanking St. Amant 14-0 for the championship. That had beaten LaSalle and Oakdale the first two playoff games.

Again, remarkable, FHS’s ’53-56 record!