Sharks reach finals of state tournament
On Friday, the Louisiana American Legion State Tournament returned to Ascension Parish for the first time since 2008.
The parish’s Gauthier Amedee squad ran out to a 3-0 start and reached the finals.
Playing at East Ascension’s Johnny Ambeau Park, the Sharks pulled off a wild victory late Friday night. Gauthier Amedee then rolled to a blowout victory on Saturday morning.
A rain delay during Friday’s first game forced Gauthier & Amedee to play the Lafayette Drillers nearly two hours later than originally scheduled.
The matchup ended up being an eventful one. The two teams played an extra inning and combined for 35 runs. The game lasted more than three hours.
The Sharks took a big lead in the second, after scoring eight runs.
East Ascension alum Kael Babin and Dutchtown’s Will Delaune each collected RBI singles to start things off.
Later, East Ascension’s Dominick Regira produced an RBI double, Dutchtown’s Tanner Vadnais drove in a run with a single, and Ascension Catholic alum Jacob Dunn sent two runners home with a base hit.
Vadnais later scored to make it 8-2.
Gauthier Amedee carried a 14-9 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
That’s when the Drillers reeled off three straight singles, which scored two runs. Later, the Drillers produced a three-run homer to tie the game at 14-14.
In the top of the eighth, Gauthier Amedee exploded for seven runs of their own, which carried them to a 21-14 victory.
Delaune and Ascension Catholic’s Lex Melancon each hit doubles that drove in three runs altogether. Regira also drove in a run with a single.
To end the inning, the Sharks scored a run on a balk. Also, a run scored after St. Amant alum Slade Zeppuhar was hit by a pitch when the bases were loaded.
Delaune had a sensational game. He went 4-5 with five RBIs. St. Amant’s Lee Amedee was 3-5 with two RBIs. Dunn was 1-2 with three walks and two RBIs.
In Saturday’s second-round game, things came a bit easier for the Sharks. They blanked the Benton Tigers, 10-0.
They took command right from the start, scoring three runs in the first two innings to take a 6-0 lead.
Babin was 1-3 with three RBIs. Dunn walked twice and scored three runs.
East Ascension’s Luke Conerly was terrific from the mound. He threw a six-inning shutout, striking out 10 batters throughout the contest.
The victory pushed the Sharks through to the state semifinals, where they met the 2-0 Gibbs Construction Cardinals on Sunday morning.
In the bottom of the first, Dunn reached base following an error, and Amedee joined him on base with a walk. Dunn was then driven home by St. Amant’s Cole Poirrier, and Dutchtown’s Caleb Ickes sent Amedee home with a single.
The Sharks’ 2-0 lead held up until the top of the sixth. Gibbs scratched a run to cut the deficit in half.
But in the bottom of the frame, Gauthier Amedee responded with a score. Amedee came home when Babin grounded into a fielder’s choice.
That 3-1 cushion was all the Sharks needed. They pulled out the victory.
Gauthier Amedee won, despite only picking up four hits. Poirrier had two of them, finishing 2-3 with an RBI.
Dutchtown’s Nick Gisclair put up a strong performance. He pitched six complete innings, surrendering just four hits and one earned run. He struck out seven.
That pushed the Sharks through for a Monday evening title game. If they lose, they will play again that night, with the winner of that contest taking home the championship.