LAPLACE, La. (WGNO) — The defending LHSAA Division III select state champions took Game 1, 7-4, in the best-of-three quarterfinal round against University Lab at Comet Field in Laplace, La., on Thursday afternoon.

The Comets took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first early thanks largely to a 2-run double from Brandon Kragle and a sacrifice fly from Michael Hotard.

Leading 6-3, Kragle cracked a shot to deep right for a solo homer in the sixth.

And starting pitcher Brady St. Pierre retired 10 U-High batters before being relieved in the seventh to claim the win.

“They’re going to throw a Southern Miss commit tomorrow in (Camden) Sunstrom, and I hope our kids are up to that challenge,” Comets head coach Wayne Stein told WGNO Sports. “I mean, that’s the kind of guys you want to face. You want to see those guys. If we are who we say we are right, and, you know, three-game series are mentally and emotionally, you know, draining.

“You have to because tomorrow they’re going to come in fighting for their life, and as much as I’m gonna press for my kids to come out here and fight for their life, they’re going to feel like, ‘oh, we got one just in case, you know,’ and so we talked all week about coming out here,” he continued. “All three games, treat them like it was all last. So let’s hope that we can do some.”

Game 2 is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Comet Field.