Wombats bring home Tennessee tournament title

Kyle Riviere
After dropping their first game in Tennessee, the Wombats won five straight to claim the tournament championship. Photo courtesy of Twitter.

Gauthier & Amedee head coach Marty Luquet has been looking for a measuring stick all season that could shed some light on just how good his team really is.

He found out last weekend.

The Wombats made the long trip to Columbia, Tenn., to compete in the 16-team Independence Day Classic tournament. This event featured some of the best American Legion squads in the country—including five state champions.

Over the course of the three days, Gauthier & Amedee went 5-1 and won the tournament title in dominant fashion. In the championship game, they trounced Troy Post 70 (Alabama), 9-1.

Heading into the road trip, the Wombats had been on a furious roll, winning 19 straight games. However, Coach Luquet acknowledged that some of the tournaments they had won featured teams that weren’t at their level.

Luquet had been looking forward to their trip to Columbia for weeks.

Before the trip, he said, “We’ll find out just how good we are. It’s right before the state tournament, so we’re excited about that trip. I think we’ll get some answers when we see good pitching day in and day out and we have to scrap and do some things.”

The Wombats tasted adversity right from the beginning.

After the first day of the tournament was rained out, the Wombats took on Tupelo (Mississippi) in the opener. For the first time in nearly a month, Gauthier & Amedee tasted defeat.

They were beaten, 4-3. The loss gave them little margin for error moving forward.

The Wombats bounced back nicely that evening as they hammered Mount Julien (Tennessee), 17-6.

The next day, Gauthier & Amedee played some of their best baseball of the season.

They opened the Saturday with a 9-1 win over the Tennessee Patriots that morning. In the evening, they hammered Floyds Knob (Indiana), 9-2.

This victory advanced the Wombats to the final day of the tournament.

In the semifinal game that morning, they played in their most challenging game since the opener against Tupelo.

Facing Texarkana (Arkansas), offense was limited.

With both pitchers dominating from the mound, the game was scoreless heading to the bottom of the fifth.

There, Dutchtown’s Layton Lee led off with a double. He eventually scored on a single by fellow Griffin Jordan Badame.

With the 1-0 lead, the Wombat offense stayed in rhythm the next inning.

Ascension Catholic’s William Dunn led off with a single. St. Amant’s Zane Zeppuhar added a single of his own. Although, an errant throw by Texarkana allowed him to reach second and also allowed Dunn to come around and score.

Zeppuhar later scored on a double by fellow Gator Reed Babin.

It gave the Wombats a 3-0 lead that they were able to hold. Their 3-1 victory punched their ticket to the title game.

In the semifinal victory, Dutchtown’s Austin Bankert was magnificent from the mound. He pitched a complete game that yielded six hits and just one run.

From the plate, Dunn was the only player in the game with multiple hits as he went 2-3.

In the championship that evening, it was all Wombats as they rolled past Troy Post 70.

They broke the game wide open with big second and third innings.

In the second, East Ascension’s Carson Dabadie scored on a wild pitch, and Badame and his Griffin teammate Brayden Caskey both picked up sacrifices to give the Wombats a 3-0 lead.

In the third, Dabadie and Badame each produced RBI singles. Dabadie eventually scored when he stole home.

Gauthier & Amedee ended the rally with an RBI double by Caskey.

With a 7-1 lead, the Wombats rolled to a title victory.

Dutchtown’s Harrison Hutson got the win from the mound as he pitched four complete innings, only allowing two hits and one run.

Ascension Catholic’s Mason Zeringue was named the game’s MVP as he went a perfect 4-4 and scored a run.

Caskey, Babin and Badame all collected two RBIs.

The victory concluded the regular season for Gauthier & Amedee. They will now prepare for the state tournament in New Orleans, which begins this Friday.

The Wombats will head into the tournament with a superb overall record of 27-2.