Gauthier & Amedee took care of one item of unfinished business last week. The Gonzales-based American Legion baseball team avenged a regional loss by beating Retif Oil-New Orleans to win the state title.
Next up is the Mid-South Regional beginning Thursday in Minden. G&A (26-9) wants to do more than surpass last year’s 1-2 showing. Earning a trip to the American Legion World Series for the first time since 1996 is the ultimate goal.
“It’s no secret that we didn’t do as well as we hoped to do last year,” Gauthier & Amedee coach Justin Morgan said.
“There’s no question we want to do better this year. And there’s nothing we’d like more than the chance to go to the World Series.”
G&A (26-9) plays the Kansas state champion from Emporia, Kan., to help open the tournament at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Morgan’s team, made up of players from Dutchtown, East Ascension and St. Amant high schools, takes a five-game winning streak into the tourney, along with a series of top performers.
Baton Rouge Community College’s Jesse Burratt, a former Dutchtown High player, helps lead the pitching staff with a 6-3 record and three saves. Burratt also plays third base and is hitting .397.
Chris Boutwell (6-0) is an ex-Dutchtown player who attended BRCC last year but could not compete because of an arm injury. BRCC signee Jacob Williams (5-2) is another pitching leader and also leads the team with a .410 batting average.
Former St. Amant player Lee Elisar, of BRCC, and ex-EAHS player Jack Cockrum, a West Alabama signee, are the catchers.
St. Amant High’s Tyler Guillory and East Ascension’s Devin Speligene play first base. St. Amant’s Tylor
Gonzales (second base), BRCC signee Tanner Sheets, of St. Amant, (shortstop) and either Burratt or Williams (third base) complete the infield.
BRCC signee Matt Willis, of Dutchtown (right field), Williams or former St. Amant player Daniel St. Pierre (center field) and St. Amant’s Madison Nickens or EAHS’ Chris Sanchez (left field) are the outfielders.
Guillory (.378), Gonzales (.367), Elisar (.351), Sheets (.310, 21 RBIs) and Cockrum (.308, 16 RBIs) are the other top hitters.
“The fact that we have a group of guys who were here last year I think will definitely help,” Morgan said.
“Last year we beat the team from Oklahoma that went on to win the World Series. We had hardships, some rain delays and wound up playing a game late at night and then had to come back at 9 a.m.
“Being able to overcome adversity like that is something you have to be able to do in a tournament like this. You also have to understand at this level everybody is good. There are no weak teams.
“I think these guys really get all of that. I think they feel like they have something to prove.”