Wombats earn two wins to begin state tourney

Kyle Riviere
Dutchtown's Brayden Caskey went 3-3 in the opening game of the state tournament. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The American Legion State Tournament opened last Friday in New Orleans, after being rescheduled due to Hurricane Barry.

Gauthier & Amedee is one of the 10 teams competing for the American Legion Louisiana state title. The Wombats are the defending champions.

The tournament will conclude this Wednesday. In the meantime, the Wombats have earned two victories to start the event.

However, they did suffer one defeat. That loss gives them zero margin for error. They must go undefeated for the rest of the tournament if they want to repeat as champions.

In the Wombats' first game, they met the St. Landry Bank Indians, a team they squeaked by in the semifinals last summer. This year's matchup was much different.

Gauthier & Amedee absolutely steamrolled the Indians by a score of 14-1. They put it away early with a seven-spot in the first inning, and they added three more runs in the second.

Dutchtown's Brayden Caskey and East Ascension's Blaise Foote each went 3-3, and Foote added three RBIs.

Ascension Catholic's Mason Zeringue went 4-4 with two RBIs, and he also scored three runs.

Former St. Amant Gator Dwain Guice was the winning pitcher as he threw four complete, surrendering just four hits and one run. He struck out seven.

The next game was like a marathon for the Wombats.

Their matchup against Pedal Valves was delayed six hours due to the weather, and when they did finally get on the field, the matchup couldn't be decided in seven innings. They played into the 10th.

The Wombats initially fell behind 3-0 in the top of the second inning. They cut the deficit to 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

Zeringue led off the inning with a single. The bases were then loaded after former Dutchtown Griffin Layton Lee walked and St. Amant's Trey Webb was hit by a pitch.

When Foote walked, Zeringue came home to score.

The Wombats then took their first lead in the fifth.

Caskey was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and East Ascension's Grant Griffin joined him on base after a single.

Caskey later scored on a sac grounder by Zeringue, and Griffin was driven home by a single by former St. Amant Gator Zane Zeppuhar.

Gauthier & Amedee led 4-3 heading into the seventh, but there, Pedal Valves was able to tie things up and send it to extra innings.

The teams played two scoreless, but in the top of the 10th, the Cardinals drew a leadoff walk, and then followed it up with an RBI double.

That proved to be the winning run as they took the matchup 5-4. It was the second time the Wombats fell to Pedal Valves this season.

In the loss, Zeppuhar and Dutchtown's Landon Manson were the only Gauthier & Amedee players with multiple hits. Each went 2-5. Zeppuhar added an RBI.

From there, the Wombats faced the Otto Candies in a Sunday elimination game. Again, weather played a big factor. The game was delayed for five hours.

But when they finally hit the field, it was all Wombats. With the score just 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, Gauthier & Amedee exploded for nine runs to pull away for an easy 10-0 victory.

Zeppuhar was a perfect 3-3 with an RBI. Dutchtown's Will Reed was 2-2 with three RBIs, and Griffin was 2-3 with an RBI and two runs.

From the mound, Dutchtown's Brock Barthelemy pitched three and two-third innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out four.

The win sent the Wombats to the next round, where they'll face archrival Southland on Monday evening. The two teams have met four times this season. They split those matchups, 2-2.