On the surface, a five-day, double-elimination tournament can be a daunting task.
Lafayette’s entry into this weekend’s American Legion state tournament — the Delhomme Drillers — appear to be equipped for such a potentially grueling event.
“We have some guys who pitched extremely well in some competitive classifications in high school this year,” Delhomme coach Donnie Boutin said. “They’ve carried that over into the summer and have done extremely well.”
It won’t take Delhomme (10-0) long to determine whether they’re prepared for the long haul when the Drillers open play Saturday (tentatively set for 1 p.m.) against the John Curtis-based River Ridge Patriots at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in New Orleans.
Play resumes 10:30 a.m. Sunday and continues through Wednesday with the championship game scheduled for 4 p.m.
“We have a lot of good arms,” said Boutin, whose team is comprised mainly of players from Acadiana High School. “We have seven legitimate pitchers, plus some (position players) that throw really well and can pick up innings. They can throw strikes and give us a chance to be in games at any times.”
Delhomme, which also features players from Carencro, Comeaux and Westminster Christian high schools, qualified for the state tournament with a 10-0 showing in district play and two scrimmages in preparation for the state event.
The Acadiana tandem of right-hander Tanner Broussard and left-hander Derek Boutin, the son of the coach, are the team’s scheduled 1-2 starters that will match up with River Ridge and potentially a second-round winner’s bracket contest with Ascension Parish-based Gauthier & Amedee on Sunday.
“Tanner’s an extremely accomplished pitcher,” Boutin said. “He throws a lot of strikes and has a phenomenal curve. He gives us our best chance to come out and face that lineup.”
Broussard won his only decision of the summer after a standout season at Acadiana, where he pitched the Rams to a road victory over eventual Class 5A state champion Barbe. He’s also a solid third baseman.
Boutin, who turned down an opportunity to pitch at Louisiana-Lafayette, has allowed no runs and only one hit this summer. He also has a no-hitter to his credit during district play.
Delhomme’s pitching staff, which carries a 1.20 ERA into tournament play, also features Stephen F. Austin signee Jacob Norman of Carencro, LSU-Eunice signee Richard Hebert of Westminster and closer Coy Westbrook of Carencro.
The Drillers, who are hitting .386, rely on a trio of .500 hitters in Hebert (.556) and second baseman Antonio Culotta (.500), a UL-Lafayette signee of Comeaux, along with the speedy Westbrook (.500).
Shortstop Tyler LaPorte (.417), Derek Boutin (.409, 1 HR), outfielder John Joslin (.391) and catcher Devin Boutin (.375, 1 HR) — all of Acadiana — also supply offensive punch.
“We think the bracket plays to our advantage with the amount of pitching we have and our defense,” coach Boutin said. “We just need to keep some runs off the board, peck away for some runs and explode every now and then.”