Heavy-hearted Wombats blank Mandeville

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Starter Dillon Abbess only gave up two hits in the Wombats' 3-0 victory over Mandeville.
Photo by Kyle Riviere.

With solid pitching and heavy hearts, Gauthier & Amedee's American Legion baseball team was able to get back on track Monday evening with a 3-0 win over Madeville's LLOG squad.

The Wombats came into the contest reeling after losing two of their previous three games, but that's not what had them down.

They were just 24 hours removed from losing their teammate Adam Sevario. Sevario sustained a serious back injury in a car accident and is expected to be out of action for six to eight months.

His teammates showed their love and appreciation for him on Monday as they visited him at the hospital prior to the game.

"I'm excited to be able to take a deep breath after everything that happened in the last 24 hours and just get on the baseball field as a family," Gauthier & Amedee head coach Conrad Gayle said. "It's been a rough 24 hours first and foremost. So, it was good for us to clear our minds, get away and just focus on baseball.

"That was key for these guys. I spoke to the guys last night because I was debating on whether we should play today, and every single one of them said, 'Coach, we want to play.'"

With so much on their minds, the Wombats struggled from the plate but with the way their pitchers were hurling it, they didn't need to generate a whole lot of offense.

Starter Dillon Abbess (Dutchtown), Dutchtown's Hunter Sanford and Parkview Baptist's Adam Tarver combined to shut out Mandeville and only give up four hits in the process.

"Off the field stuff, it really got to us the last few days. So, coming out, I don't think we were as focused at the plate," Gayle said. "Dillon Abbess, Hunter Sanford and Adam Tarver, those are three great arms and when they're one or two runs up, you're going to win a lot of ballgames. Abbess was our starter, and he has great tempo and unbelievable control, and he's going to compete."

Gauthier & Amedee got off to a great start early on as Abbess forced Mandeville to go three up and three down in the top of the first--striking out two of the batters.

The Wombats then got a leadoff double by St. Amant's Justin Duhon in the bottom of the inning. Duhon eventually came home after a sacrifice bunt by former Gator Blaine Schexnayder.

Up 1-0 in the third inning, a great play by centerfielder and former East Ascension standout Luke Lambert helped the Wombats maintain the lead.

After a Madeville single, a runner raced home, but Lambert quickly scooped the ball up and fired a rope to catcher (former East Ascension Spartan) Layne Trahan to keep the run off of the board and end the inning.

However, Gauthier & Amedee continued to struggle offensively. Prior to the sixth, they had stranded a runner in each of the first five innings.

Finally, they got something going when Tarver was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Dutchtown's Caleb Ricca came in to run for him and immediately reached second after a bunt by East Ascension's Cole Holley.

East Ascension's Austin McInnis then sent one to short and after a fielding error, Ricca came home.

Dutchtown's Tyler Boeding then crushed an RBI-double against the wall at right-center to give the Wombats a commanding 3-0 lead.

After giving up a hit and a walk in the seventh inning, Tarver finished things off with a big strikeout to give Gauthier & Amedee the victory.

"I was pleased with how we jumped on them early. In that first inning, we got a leadoff double, and that always gives you some breathing room when you can jump on top in that first inning," Gayle said. "Then I feel like we coasted a little bit.

"Our approach just wasn't the same, but we battled, and we got the 'W.' At the end of the day, that's all that matters. We have a lot of work to do, but we are where we should be right now."

Gauthier & Amedee's best performance from the plate came from Schexnayder as he went 1-3 with an RBI.

The Wombats will continue to play hard for their injured teammate. They'll hit the road in search of more victories this week.

On Thursday, they travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to play Hub City and this weekend, they'll be in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Killian Windham Invitational.

"We have a tremendous opportunity this weekend playing in Tuscaloosa against some great competition in the Southeast Region," Gayle said. "I'm really excited to get these guys away and get them focused on the game of baseball."