Wombats looking to return to the World Series

Kyle Riviere
Ascension Catholic's Mason Zeringue returns as the Wombats' top hitter from last season. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

In 2013, the Gauthier & Amedee American Legion baseball squad won the state championship and made a run to the World Series.

But after that magical journey, they went five long years before accomplishing both of those feats again. This year’s wombat squad wants to make sure that kind of drought isn’t seen again.

Gauthier & Amedee is coming off of one of the most successful seasons they’ve ever had, and they’re looking to continue that excellence again in 2019.

Last summer was special for the Wombats.

They were dominant for much of the year, only losing two games during the regular season. It wasn’t much of a surprise when they captured the Louisiana American Legion state championship in New Orleans in July. It was their first state title in five years.

From there, they kept rolling. They took home the Mid-South Region championship to punch their ticket to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C. It was also their first trip since 2013.

In the World Series, they got off to a sensational start. They went 3-0 in pool play, winning all three games in scintillating one-run affairs. One of the teams they beat was Delaware Post1, the team that would go on to win the American Legion World Series title.

Like the 2013 squad, the Wombats reached the semifinals, where they met Las Vegas Post 40. Pitcher Jimmy Gamboa held Gauthier & Amedee to just one hit in what turned out to be a 6-1 loss.

The defeat eliminated the Wombats from the tournament and ended their season just two victories short of a World Series championship.

Overall, the Wombats finished 2018 with an impeccable record of 44-7.

One year later, Gauthier & Amedee is ready to begin another season. They have their eyes set on taking home another state and regional championship, and then finishing what they started in Shelby last summer.

The Wombats will certainly have the tools to bring home another state title. They return almost their entire roster from last summer.

Most notably, two former St. Amant greats will rejoin the team in Zane Zeppuhar and Dwain Guice. Both players were Southeastern signees last year.

Zeppuhar had a monster summer from both the plate and the mound. As a pitcher, he was 5-0 with 48 strikeouts. As a hitter, he batted .406 with 41 RBIs, which was second on the team.

Guice was the Wombats' top pitcher last season, going 8-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a team-high 71 strikeouts.

Another important starter from the mound that returns is former East Ascension Spartan Chad Kennedy. Last summer, Kennedy went a perfect 6-0 with an ERA under 1.00.

“We have quite a few guys back from last year, so I think we’ll be very competitive," Wombat head coach Marty Luqet said. "We bring back five pitchers, guys that we know we can count on. Dwain Guice, Chad Kennedy, Layton Lee, Zane Zeppuhar and Blaise Foote are all guys that pitched a lot of innings for us last season.”

Some of the new arms that Gauthier & Amedee will have at their disposal this year will be St. Amant's Teddy Webb, Dutchtown's Will Reed and Brock Barthelemy and Ascension Catholic's Tre' Medine.

“Thirteen of the 18 guys on our roster are pitchers," Luqet said. "Right now, we’re trying to figure out where they all fit. We have Tre’ Medine, who was Ascension Catholic’s ace. We have Brock Barthelemy, who pitched the playoff game for Dutchtown. Brady Kunefke was a pitcher for St. Amant. So, these guys toed the rubber a lot down the stretch of the season.

"We put Grant Griffin out in left. He was with us last year, and he had a great year for EA. We’re gonna put Blaise Foote on first base, whenever he isn’t pitching.”

Ascension Catholic's Mason Zeringue is back for the Wombats. The LSU-Eunice signee led the team in hitting last season before being forced to miss the latter half of the summer with a knee injury.

Before he was nicked up, Zeringue hit .488 with 26 RBIs--which was fourth on the team. He also scored 33 runs.

Bulldog teammate William Dunn will also be back.

Outside of Zeringue and Zeppuhar, the best returning hitter for Gauthier & Amedee will be Dutchtown's Brayden Caskey. The Delgado signee hit .360 last summer and led the team in runs scored with 49.

Coach Luquet is very excited about the team hosting the Louisiana Challenge at East Ascension and Dutchtown July 27-30.

In this tournament, there will be five American Legion state champions--including Gauthier & Amedee. Also there will be Arkansas state champion, Bryan, Alabama state champion, Troy, Missouri state champion, Columbia, and Mississippi state champion, Tupelo.

Also, during the summer, the Wombats will make road trips to play Bryan, Troy and Tupelo, and they will also play in a tournament in Tennessee.

“It’s great to go 44-7 in a season, but we want to prepare these guys for what’s coming up once the state and regional tournaments come around," Luqet said. "These kids love to travel anyway. We want to upgrade the schedule and prepare these guys—especially the younger guys that are underclassmen. Not only will they be prepared for this summer, but they’ll be prepared for the next high-school season.”

Here are the players on the Wombats' roster: Brock Barthelemy (Dutchtown), Brayden Caskey (Dutchtown), William Dunn (Ascension Catholic), Blaise Foote (East Ascension), Grant Griffin (East Ascension), Dwain Guice (St. Amant 2018), Chad Kennedy (East Ascension 2018), Brady Kunefke (St. Amant), Layton Lee (Dutchtown 2018), Landon Manson (Dutchtown), Tre' Medine (Ascension Catholic), Cohen Parent (Dutchtown), Will Reed (Dutchtown), Chance Simmons (East Ascension), Teddy Webb (St. Amant), Trey Webb (St. Amant), Zane Zeppuhar (St. Amant 2018), Mason Zeringue (Ascension Catholic)