Mitchell Maynard broke open a 5-all tie when he drilled a home run during the eighth inning of the American Legion Sixth District tournament.
The two-run shot, which ricocheted off a light pole in right field, provided the impetus Gonzales-based Gauthier & Amedee needed to defeat Mandeville-based LLOG 8-5 on Monday at Mandeville’s Walter B. Sirera Field.
Gauthier & Amedee will represent the district as a top seed in the regional American Legion tournament which begins Saturday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in New Orleans. LLOG will advance to the regional as a number two seed.
The victory concluded a four-team tournament that took nearly a week to complete. Heavy rains throughout the end of the previous week, plus the fact that Gauthier & Amedee had travel ball obligations this past weekend, led to the district championship being played on Monday. The game started last Thursday, with Gauthier-Amedee leading 2-1 in a game that was called in the top of the second because of foul weather.
Gauthier & Amedee took a 2-1 lead when Brennan Grant knocked a two-run double in the top of the first. LLOG cut the deficit in half on a double by Harrison Jambon. He later scored when Enlow hit two LLOG batters.
Despite the delay, both teams put forward a solid effort four days later. LLOG evened the score in the bottom of the third when John Laws singled and Peyton Harris walked. Jo Jo Gennaro hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Blaine Schexnaydre, which was bobbled. His throw to first was high, which allowed Laws to score and tie it at 2.
Gauthier & Amedee regained the lead in the fourth. Matt Delaune singled with one out, and moved to second on a fielder’s choice bunt. He then went to third when LLOG starter Hunter Roig hit a batter. Justin Martin, the nine hole-hitter, walked to force home Delaune and make the score 3-2. Leadoff batter Aiden Hodges hit into a fielder’s choice to plate Maynard and push the lead to two runs.
Gauthier & Amedee scored an additional run in the fifth when Luke Lambert walked and eventually came home on an RBI infield single by Brennan Grant.
LLOG loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but failed to capitalize. They repeated the feat in the bottom of the sixth, but made the most of the situation then.
John Laws hit into a routine grounder to second base, but Delaune threw the ball into left field, which allowed Brant Moisant and Harrison Jambon to score. Taft Lewis followed with a grounder to second, which was fielded cleanly, but Mason Lusco came home to tie the game at 5.
That set up Maynard’s heroics in the top of the eighth. Gauthier & Amedee added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to dictate the final score.
Sklyar Enlow began the game for Gauthier & Amedee and gave way to Nick Pupera, who came in to pitch for to start the bottom of the seventh. Pupera picked up the win after retiring the side in the final three innings against LLOG.
“We came out of a pretty tough week, traveling over here Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and we had a tournament we had already committed to over the weekend in Lafayette,” Gauthier-Amedee coach Justin Morgan said. “Our guys have been road-tested, and we knew we would be a little tired today. But I’m proud of the guys and the way they were able to scratch out a few runs early.”
Grant went 2-for-3 with four RBI. Harrison Jambon was the only LLOG hitter with multiple hits, going 2-for-5.