Wombats finish as runners-up at home tournament

Kyle Riviere
East Ascension's Grant Griffin motors home during the Wombats' 9-6 victory over Columbia (Tennessee). Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Gauthier & Amedee hosted the Louisiana Challenge Tournament this past weekend. The event featured five American Legion state champions from last season.

In addition to the Wombats--who were the Louisiana champs in 2018--the tournament also showcased champs from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Gauthier & Amedee played very well, beating three of those champions to reach the title game on Sunday. However, they fell to fellow Louisiana power Pedal Valve in the championship, forcing them to settle for runner-up honors.

In the first game, the Wombats had to endure a lightning delay and another delay caused by the lights going out at East Ascension. When they finally got back on the field, they made easy work of Tupelo (Mississippi), 8-2.

Game two against Columbia (Tennessee) was much more challenging.

The Wombats trailed 1-0 after one inning, but they were able to take command in the second with a four-run frame.

St. Amant's Teddy Webb and former Dutchtown Griffin Layton Lee both walked. St. Amant's Trey Webb then drove in his twin brother Teddy with a double. Lee eventually scored on a grounder by Ascension Catholic's William Dunn.

Dutchtown's Brayden Caskey singled to load the bases. With back-to-back walks by East Ascension's Grant Griffin and former St. Amant Gator Zane Zeppuhar, two more runs scored.

However, Columbia kept fighting back.

They scratched two runs in the fourth, but the Wombats countered as Dunn came up with an infield single and eventually scored on a throwing error. It made the score 5-3.

But in the fifth, Columbia strung together four hits, including a two-RBI double. This helped them regain a lead at 6-5.

Gauthier & Amedee never flinched.

In the bottom of the fifth, Zeppuhar led off with a walk, and Dutchtown's Will Reed also got a free pass. Lee then drove in Zeppuhar with a single, and Trey Webb's base hit scored Reed to give the Wombats a 7-6 advantage.

In the sixth, they put the game away with two more runs.

Both Griffin and Ascension Catholic's Mason Zeringue singled. Dunn then drove in Griffin with a single, and East Ascension's Blaise Foote drove in Zeringue with a double.

Former East Ascension Spartan Chad Kennedy was able to close out the 9-6 victory on the mound for Gauthier & Amedee.

Trey Webb was the only Wombat with multiple hits as he went 2-3 with two RBIs. Zeppuhar was 1-2 with two walks and an RBI.

“There was a little bit of everything. We did some things well, and some things just didn’t go our way, but when it came down to it, we hit the ball," Wombat head coach Marty Luquet said. "They’re very confident. They play with a lot of swagger, and that’s always good. There’s no lead that they’re afraid of, and they expect to win. As long as they attack it like that, they’re gonna have a lot of success.”

Gauthier & Amedee went on to blast the Otto Candies, 10-1, on Saturday to reach the semifinals. There, they beat Bryant (Arkansas), 5-4, on Sunday morning.

It set up the championship game against Pedal Valve that evening. The Cardinals have won two of the last three Louisiana state titles.

They showed on Sunday that they will be challenging the Wombats for the state championship next month. Fueled by a four-run sixth inning, Pedal Valve took the tournament title, 6-4.

Still, Coach Luquet was excited just to be able to host a tournament that featured so many great teams from across the region.

“It was a lot of fun to put this thing together, but the volunteers from the area have really made it a fabulous tournament," Luquet said. "All the teams want to come back. Gonzales is a really great place to stay, and the food is good. That’s what they came for. They came for good baseball, good food and a good time, and they got it.”