After an opening round loss in the American Legion Southeast Regional Tournament put their backs against the wall, Hahnville-based Otto Candies rebounded with back-to-back wins to advance to the state tournament in Sulphur.
Otto Candies clinched their appearance in the American Legion State Tournament with a 6-3 win over the River Ridge Patriots from John Curtis High School on Monday. Hahnville’s Brooks Vial was excellent from the mound, giving up three hits and two runs in eight innings. The victory improved Vial’s American Legion record to 5-1.
"Brooks has been good going back to last year and the players have a lot of confidence in him," Otto Candies head coach David Baudry said. "They enjoy playing behind him."
Offensively, Otto Candies played one of their best games, finishing with 12 hits. They took a 1-0 lead in the second after opening the inning by loading the bases. Dylan Keller later drew a walk to give his team the lead.
Otto Candies extended their lead to 2-0 thanks to a River Ridge error in the fourth and added a third run in the sixth on an RBI single by Tyler Simmons.
With Vial keeping the River Ridge bats at bay, Otto Candies increased their advantage to 5-0 in the eighth. Keller got his team started after reaching on a hard hit ball to short. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, which was followed by a walk issued to Simmons. Cody Farrell brought both runners home after knocking a double down the left field line.
River Ridge finally got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the eighth, but Otto Candies sealed the win with another run in the top of the ninth.
"It was a really good win for us. Brooks was able to limit their opportunities and we had a bunch of base runners – it was our best game of the tournament offensively," Baudry said. "We didn’t put up as many runs as we could have but we had a lot of quality at bats."
Ty Cologne led Otto Candies from the plate, going 3-for-5. Vial recorded two hits while Farrell finished with two RBIs on one hit. Keller, Simmons, Todd Porche, Fontenot and Chase Bagot all recorded hits in the win.
Baudry was proud of how his team refocused after opening the tournament on Saturday with a 3-2 loss to Shaw-based Refuel in 10 innings.
Otto Candies took a 2-0 lead in the second inning of that game after RBIs by Fontenot and Cologne. However, Refuel tied the game with two runs in the seventh and clinched the win with a run in the 10th.
"We didn’t play poorly but we got into a situation where we couldn’t drive in runs and we allowed Refuel to get back in the game and eventually get the win," Baudry said.
Facing elimination a day after their loss to Refuel, Otto Candies bounced back in a big way by cruising past HK Tors 11-4.
Keller was huge in the win, finishing 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Vial also came up big, driving in two runs.
Simmons, Farrell, Michael Landry and Todd Billingsley each finished with an RBI.
Porche earned the win for Otto Candies, giving up seven hits and four runs in six innings. He struck out four.
Eight teams will battle for the state title in Sulphur from July 27-31.
|Otto Candies pitcher Tyler Lamers slides into third ahead of the throw.|