In baseball, one big inning is often the difference between the winner and loser.
Such was the case in Wednesday’s American Legion Sixth District matchup between Hahnville-based Otto Candies and Hannan-based Post 16.
But the victor added to its spoils before the game ended.
Otto Candies scored five runs in the third inning to take command of an opening-round game in the Sixth District tournament at Mandeville High’s Walter B. Sirera Field. They added a run in the bottom of the seventh, and three more in the eighth to go ahead 9-0, before winning 9-1.
David Vial, a junior at Hahnville, threw a complete game five-hitter for Candies. He struck out six and only walked one.
“I felt great,” Vial said. “I felt stronger as the game progressed. I was pounding the middle and hitting the zone. I was able to spot my fastball well. It opened up the door for the curve, the change, and the cutter.
Otto Candies coach David Baudry said Vial’s effort was invaluable; especially if his team wants to win the regional and advance to the state tournament.
“It was huge,” Baudry said. “We thought it was a good matchup. He’s been throwing the ball really well this summer. He throws strikes and lets the guys behind him make plays.”
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the third, when Candies took control. Candies scored five runs without a hit, taking advantage of two Post 16 errors, two walks, two hit batters and a costly mental error that kept the rally alive.
With one out, Kevin Comardelle and Cade Miguez walked and Waylon LeBlanc reached on an error. A botched fielders’ choice scored Comardelle, and Miguez scored on a passed ball. Waylon Leblanc scored on the same play on throwing error. After recording a strikeout, Bryce Hargis and Matthew Barbier were hit, which scored Hunter Leblanc, and eventually Hargis.
Candies sent nine batters to the plate in the decisive inning.
Candies padded its lead in the bottom of the seventh when they loaded the bases on an error, a single and a walk. Post 16 starter Jarrett Gonzales started to work out of the jam by recording two outs, but he walked Dane Wise, which scored Braxton Dufrene. The run made the score 6-0.
Candies added two runs in the bottom of the eighth when Miguez doubled, Waylon LeBlanc singled and both scored on a double to deep left field by Hunter LeBlanc.
Play in the American Legion Southeast Regional Tournament continues Thursday at Mandeville and at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in New Orleans, where opening-round action was rained out on Wednesday. Peake BMW (Brother Martin-based) and Mardi Gras Logistics (Thomas Jefferson) will play at 1 p.m. Thursday at Kirsch-Rooney. Games also will be played at 4 p.m., and the last game will be played 30 minutes following that contest. At Mandeville High, Ponstein’s (Holy Cross) and Deanie’s (Rummel) will play at 11 a.m. and other games will follow at 4 and 7 p.m.