Hahnville-based Otto Candies will face the Acadiana-based Delhomme Drillers in the first round of the American Legion State Tournament on Saturday.
Otto Candies clinched an appearance in the state tourney after going 2-2 in the Southeast Regional Tournament last weekend and finishing in the semifinals. Otto Candies began the tourney with an extra innings loss to Refuel but rebounded with back-to-back wins against HK Tors and John Curtis.
In the semifinals, Otto Candies lost to Dutchtown-based Gauthier & Amadee, 3-0. Dutchtown ended up winning the regional championship.
Though his team didn’t win the regional championship, Otto Candies head coach David Baudry was still proud of his squad for finishing in the top four and advancing to the state tournament.
"I think we showed improvement in the regional," he said. "We have been steady on the mound and defensively since February, but offensively we got better. We set ourselves up to use this week to improve even more."
Baudry said his squad needs to continue to have good at bats and will need to work diligently to improve in other offensive areas, such as running the bases and bunting.
Those improvements must be made in a hurry if Otto Candies hopes to get by Acadiana.
Baudry admits he’s not too familiar with the Lafayette-based school, but he knows that they are always one of the stronger teams in the state.
"They’ve always been very competitive and they play hard," he said. "They have a lot of guys on their team who also play football and that’s a sign that they are very athletic."
In American Legion, the teams compete for nine innings instead of the normal seven innings they play during the high school season. The first three innings will give Baudry a chance to find out even more about Acadiana.
"Once you get through the first three innings, you have a good idea of who you are facing and how you face up against them," he said. "Then of course the last three innings are the most important."
Baudry will likely start Todd Porche on the mound against Acadiana. Porche led his team to an 11-4 win over HK Tors in the regional. He gave up four runs on seven hits while striking out four in six innings.
Baudry plans to start Brooks Vial in the second game of the double elimination tournament. If Otto Candies advances after that, Tyler Lamers and Zachary Calhoun will start games three and four.
"That’s our planned rotation, but you may get into a situation where you have to bring one of those guys in at some point to get a few outs in a game," Baudry said. "If we have to do that, the rotation might change."
Otto Candies has already faced six of the eight teams that they could play in the state tournament including Jesuit, Brother Martin, Crowley, Shaw, John Curtis and Dutchtown.
Five of those teams are from the Southeast Regional.
"The strength of the tournament are the teams from the Southeast Regional, but the other teams are talented as well and they can all beat you if you don’t come to play," Baudry said.
If Otto Candies wins the state tournament, they will advance to the Mid South Regional in Arkansas, which will begin on Aug. 7.
They begin the state tournament on Saturday in Sulphur at 9 a.m. when they face Acadiana. For a full schedule, see this story on www.heraldguide.com
|Hahnville pitcher Tyler Lamers fires a strike during the Tigers regional game last week. Lamers is one of several talented pitchers that will be called upon to help Hahnville in their quest for a state title.|