The Wombats are ready for another summer of action, but this time, they're looking to finally break through and take home a state championship.
June is here, and so is the brutal Louisiana heat and the beginning of summer break for high-school kids throughout the state.
The month has also brought more baseball. Yes, the prep season may have come to an end, but the American Legion schedule is just getting started.
And when it comes to American Legion baseball, Ascension Parish is always represented well by their Gauthier & Amedee Wombats. The Wombats are ready for another summer of action, but this time, they’re looking to finally break through and take home a state championship.
Gauthier & Amedee has come so close for the past three years, but they just haven’t been able to get over the hump.
Last season was a bit of a rollercoaster ride late for the Wombats.
They had an opportunity to lock up an automatic bid for the state tournament, but they dropped a best-of-five series with district rival Southland to end the regular season.
This forced Gauthier & Amedee to have to play their way into the tournament. No problem.
The Wombats steamrolled through the American Legion Southeast regional in New Orleans. They went a perfect 4-0 throughout the course of the tournament—winning the four games by a combined score of 41-4.
This earned them a spot in the state tournament, where they got off to a great start. They beat John Curtis-based River Ridge, 2-1, in their opening game.
However, an upset loss to Townsend Homes gave them zero margin for error moving forward.
Against defending state champion Pedal Valve, the Wombats raced out to a 4-0 lead, just to see the advantage dwindle away in what became a heartbreaking 6-5 defeat.
The loss bounced the Wombats from the state semifinals for the third straight season.
It’s a new year for Gauthier & Amedee, but their aspirations have remained the same. They’ll be seeking their first state championship since 2013, and a trip to the American Legion World Series.
For the second straight season, they’ll be led by head coach Marty Luquet. The Wombats went 24-6-1 during his first year.
Luquet is a former three-time Class 5A Coach of the Year with Destrehan, where he led the Wildcats to state runner-up finishes in both 2003 and 2005.
He won 447 career games, and also went on to win a national title in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association summer league.
The Wombats have lost some key members of last year’s team—guys like Nicholls signees Cameron Crawford and Ivan Prejean. Crawford led the team in batting average last year at .386, and Prejean led them in RBIs with 26.
But for the most part, Gauthier & Amedee will return the meat of last year’s roster. This will include a stacked pitching staff.
Southeastern signee Dwaine Guice (St. Amant) was last year’s ace as he went 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA.
Guice returns, along with Dutchtown’s Jack Merrifield and Austin Bankert. Both have been all-district pitchers for the Griffins over the past two seasons.
Southeastern signee Zane Zeppuhar (St. Amant) will also be a key arm on the mound for the Wombats.
Gauthier & Amedee should also be potent from behind the plate.
Brayden Caskey (Dutchtown) is back after hitting .378 last summer, and Preston Thrash (East Ascension) was second on the team in 2017 with 23 RBIs.
There are also quite a few players that could have breakout campaigns after earning all-district honors during the high-school season. Some of these standouts include Reed Babin (St. Amant), Jordan Badame (Dutchtown), Chad Kennedy (East Ascension) and Layton Lee (Dutchtown).
Also, the Wombats will have two new additions from Ascension Catholic.
Both outfielder Mason Zeringue and infielder William Dunn will join Gauthier & Amedee fresh off of leading the Bulldogs to a Division-IV state title, the program’s first since 1994.