Playing with only a part of their starting roster in place, Hahnville’s Otto Candies squad split the first two games of the summer American Legion baseball season with Rummel’s Deanie’s Seafood to start off with a 1-1 record.
Otto Candies coach David Baudry traditionally reconvenes his starting team from the previous high school season, but Hahnville’s graduating seniors have been in Florida since last weekend and have not been available.
"I have several boys who are on their senior vacation, so the team I have on the field right now is really a combination of Legion and Junior Legion players," he said.
The missing players include pitcher and District 8-5A MVP Brooks Vial and first team district selections Tyler Simmons, Connor Lorio and Ty Cologne. Their absence did not keep Otto Candies from rebounding from a 3-1 loss in the opening game on Saturday, May 25 for a 4-2 victory in the following Monday’s rematch.
Zac Calhoun pitched six innings of Monday’s game and took home the win after Garret Smith came in for clean up duty in the seventh.
Although Deanie’s got out to a 2-1 lead on a two-score single in the second inning, the winning run came off the bat of Tyler Lamers, who knocked in the go ahead run with a double in the sixth inning.
"Matt Fontenot, a young junior catcher, had a big hit and Tyler Lamers had a big hit," Baudry said.
Lamers, who usually plays first base and pitcher, also filled in an unfamiliar position as catcher where he threw out a base runner.
Baudry said he thinks, in addition to the absent seniors, it took his team a little while to get used to the wooden bats that are used in American Legion ball.
"Monday I thought we really competed well. We did a good job. You could see the improvement from Saturday to Monday," Baudry said. "One of the big changes is we have to use wooden bats and it’s a huge, huge difference. The first game, although they had hit with wooden bats in batting practice, it’s not the same. Monday I think we had much better at bats and we were able to get big hits."
After last year’s seniors return, the team that lost in the high school quarterfinals will be back together except for one player. Cody Farrell, who graduated in 2012 and plays college ball at Delgado Community College, is going to take Easton Melancon’s spot on the roster.
"Easton Melancon is not going to play this summer because he is going up to Louisiana College to compete for the quarterback position," Baudry said. "Tyler Simmons will slide over into the second base spot and Cody will play shortstop and basically it is the same lineup we had at the end of last season."
Farrell also played for last year’s American Legion team, which placed second in the state and went on to the national regional tournament.
Otto Candies will play 25 games in June. In addition, two other affiliated teams, the Metro team and the Junior team, will play alternate schedules to allow younger players to garner playing time.
"We probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 players. So that is a bunch of guys trying to get some time on the field," Baudry said.
Baudry said the American Legion experience will pay off for his younger players as they prepare for next year’s high school season.
"I guess some questions will be answered in the summer, but I guess most questions will be answered in the next winter and spring going into next year," he said.
Otto Candies will match up next against Jesuit on Monday, June 3 at at 5 p.m. at Hahnville.
|Tyler Lamers thinks about stealing a base.|