It was the beginning of the seventh inning and Otto Candies pitcher Tyler Lamers admitted “I was beginning to think about the no-hitter.”
But, when Ben Hess’ grounder back to the mound flicked off Lamers’ glove for Retif Oil’s only hit of the game, Lamers had to get his teenage priorities in order.
The ball “just ticked off the end of my glove and I kind of got mad for a second,” Lamers explained after Hahnville-based Otto Candies defeated Jesuit-based Retif 3-0 in the American Legion Southeast Regional at Kirsch-Rooney on Saturday afternoon.
“Winning,” Lamers said, “puts us in the driver’s seat. Starting out 1-0 . . . and not having to wake up early to play in the morning is a really good thing for us.”
Lamers and his teammates can sleep late Sunday morning if they choose. By virtue of the win, Otto Candies (13-5-1) will play a winners bracket game against Deanie’s scheduled for 3:30. p.m.
Lamers struck out 15 Retif batters, including the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in order in the ninth inning. He threw 125 pitches in a game that lasted only 2 hours and 20 minutes.
“Lamers was awfully good, and we didn’t create many chances for ourselves and when we did, we squandered them,” said Retif coach Joey Latino.
The Retif seventh inning had potential. Scott Crabtree led off with a walk. He was picked off first base. Hess followed with a single and then Brandon Briuglio reached base when a routine pop-up was dropped for an error. Lamers struck out the next two batters.
In other action Saturday, Rummel-based Deanie’s scored two unearned runs in the 10th inning to defeat East Ascension-based Gauthier-Amedee 3-1 and advanced to play Otto Candies.
Joshua Pantoja had four hits in five at-bats, including a triple and 3 RBIs, to lead Shaw-based Refuel to a 13-6 win over Mandeville-based LLOG in Saturday’s second game. Refuel collected 17 hits.
Refuel will play Brother Martin-based Peake BMW, a 15-5 winner in Saturday’s late game against John Curtis-based River Ridge. Refuel and Peake play in Sunday’s second winners bracket game scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Sunday’s 9 a.m. first losers bracket game will pit Retif (13-7) against Gauthier-Amedee, a team that reached the World Series last year. Sunday’s second game, which will begin 35 minutes after the conclusion of the opener, will have LLOG matched against River Ridge.
The top two regional teams will move on to the Legion State Tournament, at Kirsch-Rooney, July 19-23.
“Winning the first game in a tournament like this is huge,” Otto Candies coach David Baudry said. “This is the hardest day to win. You have got to have a guy on the mound who is going to compete, and we had that.”
Otto Candies scored single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings and, except for the dropped pop-up, played solid defense behind Lamers. Two Retif runners were thrown out stealing, and Otto Candies also turned a 5-4-3 double play.
Baudry said his hitters began swinging at less-than-desirable pitches later in the game.
“We got ahead 3-0 and (Lamers) is throwing the way he was today and we started smelling the finish line and rushing. We’ll be better tomorrow.”
Clean-up hitter Dylan Keller reached base three times for Otto Candies, including a deep double to left in the fifth inning.
For Retif Oil, Sunday is a must-win situation in the double elimination tournament.
“Not only are we coming out of the losers bracket, but we’re playing a really good Gauthier-Amedee team tomorrow morning,” Latino said. “We’ll see what we are made of. That’s one thing about tomorrow that will teach us about this group of kids: what kind of character we have.
“It won’t be easy.”