Refuel coach Kirk Bullinger’s team remained unbeaten in the American Legion state tournament Monday, handing Retif Oil its first loss of the tournament 11-2 at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Shaw-based Refuel will meet Hahnville-based Otto Candies, a 2-0 winner over Brother Martin-based Peake BMW in Monday’s opener. Retif moves on to play North Vermilion-based Gulf Coast Bank, which beat Deanie’s Seafood 10-4 on Monday.
Refuel got a seven-hitter out of senior left-hander Jared Giambelluca, and the offense banged out 12 hits, including four for extra bases.
“That’s the surprising part of this — pleasantly surprising,” Bullinger said of his team’s offensive display in the tournament; Refuel has 31 hits, six doubles and three triples in three games. “A team needs the table-setters to get on and the RBI guys to do their job. Fortunately we’ve been doing that, and now we’ve got to keep on doing that.”
Refuel jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Leadoff man Caiden Reid, who had three hits and scored three runs, started with a single. Brandon Guillot, who had two doubles off the wall in left, doubled him home, and Guillot scored on Matt Keller’s single.
“Guillot hit two bombs (Monday night),” Bullinger said. “I thought the second one had a chance to get out of here, but he was one biscuit short.”
Refuel made it 3-0 in the third when Jace Nini tripled with two outs and scored on a wild pitch.
Refuel blew the game open in the fifth with five runs. Reid began that uprising with another single. A single by Josh Pantoja, an error and a walk preceded Scott Ledet’s RBI single. D.J. Alexander drove in the inning’s final two runs with a single.
Guillot’s near-home run came in the two-run sixth. Reid led off with a double, Pantoja singled him home and Guillot reached the wall in Kirsch-Rooney’s spacious outfield.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Bullinger said. “If we win (Tuesday), that makes it tough on the other teams. Someone will have to beat us twice. But right now, we’ve to focus on a very good Hahnville team.”
Hahnville-based Otto Candies advanced on the strength of Todd Porche’s four-hit shutout of Peake BMW, which was eliminated. Porche struck out 10 and walked two.
Peake starter Jarrett Gongora went eight innings but allowed the only two runs in the first. Waylon LeBlanc and Peyton Robert led off with singles. Tyler Lamers singled with one out to drive in LeBlanc, and Mark Abate Jr. followed with another single to drive home Robert.
Gulf Coast Bank took advantage of five Deanie’s errors in its win. Donald Comeaux and Jace Harrington each drove in two runs.
The winners of Tuesday’s games advance to the final round Wednesday at 4 p.m. Another game, if necessary, will be played 35 minutes after the first game.