Still hungry: Delta Charter looking forward to next season after hard loss

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 18, 2018


FERRIDAY — Delta Charter School baseball coach Jarrett Hoffpauir has had a few days to reflect on his team’s loss in the LHSAA Class 1A State Championship game last Saturday.

After the Storm dropped the title to Merryville in Sulphur, Louisiana, 6-3, Hoffpauir was sad but not upset.

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“They all came a long way,” Hoffpauir said. “I’m just so proud and I think it’s starting to sink in how much I am really going to miss them.”

Delta Charter started this season — just the second year the team has been playoff eligible after the school was established six years ago — on rough ground. The Storm lost the majority of its games as it approached the halfway point of the season.

“We got a couple big wins later in the year,” Hoffpauir said. “It made us realize that we could be really good. One of the biggest things for us was that we got hot at the right times.”

So Delta Charter was faced with a special opportunity. It found itself as the No. 9 seed heading into the first round of the playoffs — the lowest seed to receive a first-round bye.

After taking down No. 8 Jonesboro-Hodge by just one run in the second round, 6-5, Delta Charter faced possibly its biggest test yet in No. 1 seed LaSalle.

Not only was LaSalle the topped-ranked team in the state, it was a familiar foe having ended the Storm’s postseason run in the quarterfinals last year.

Delta Charter seized their opportunity this year, securing its spot in Sulphur with a 9-2 victory.

“That was a good one, especially being LaSalle,” Hoffpauir said. “They roughed us up in the playoffs last year, but our guys were ready and prepared.”

To reach the title game, the Storm then defeated No. 5 Kentwood, 5-3.

While his team fell just short of winning it all, Hoffpauir stands by its side.

“Made a good run at it last year, so it helped that we got a little taste of it,” he said. “We knew everyone was going to be really competitive and they were. We played well until the very end, but we just didn’t have our day. We couldn’t get any breaks.”

Looking back on how it all turned out, especially from the tough start, Hoffpauir said he wouldn’t change a thing.

The Storm will lose five seniors in Drake Smith, Trenton Miller, Chase Gillespie, Jacob Harrison and Chandler Wiley.

“It was a lot of fun to watch them transform through the year,” Hoffpauir said. “It was a complete different team by the end of it.”

Well, maybe Hoffpauir would change one thing.

“We are hungry for next year. The young guys took it pretty personal,” he said. “I would think people would be looking at us now, but we have to go out and prove we can do it each and every year.”