Gauthier & Amedee coach Conrad Gayle said his team overcame two obstacles during Saturday’s opening-round 9-4 victory over St. Charles Catholic-based Townsend Homes in the American Legion State Tournament at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
“First, we knew St. Charles would be tough,” Gayle said of the team that won last week’s Southeast Regional. “We knew it would be a battle.”
Gayle was also concerned about “innings eight and nine.” Legion playoff games are nine-inning affairs instead of the customary seven in prep games.
“It’s only two more innings, but that’s a big difference,” Gayle said. “I did not want us to press. I told our guys (to) take a deep breath. We did a great job responding.”
Gauthier & Amedee advances to play the winner of Saturday night’s game between Refuel-Peak BMW on Sunday. Townsend will play the loser of that game at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Gauthier & Amedee took a 4-1 lead, but Townsend battled back to tie the game 4-4 with three runs in the fifth inning.
Blayne Enlow relieved starter Dillon Abbess and turned in three innings of one-hit relief to earn the win for the Ascension Parish based team. Abbess survived a difficult sixth inning, and then his teammates staked him to 7-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
“Abbess wasn’t as sharp as he normally is, but one thing I’m obviously excited about is we have arms,” Gayle said. “We do have arms. Enlow came in there and shut the door ... or at least St. Charles had a little momentum and we were able to gain it back.”
In the sixth, Gauthier & Amedee took advantage of a walk, the third of four base hits by Payton Stafford, and two Townsend errors.
Brennan Grant led off with a walk, moved to second on a Stafford hit and scored when Adam Tarver’s perfectly placed bunt down the third base line was thrown wildly to first. Stafford scored on the second error of the inning and Tarver eventually came home on Tyler Boeding’s sacrifice fly.
Tristan Babin hit his second double to lead off the seventh inning and eventually scored to make it 8-4.
Townsend failed to score when its opportunity arose in the sixth. Its first two runners reached, but Enlow recorded a strikeout and then induced a harmless ground ball back to the mound. After walking the next batter, Enlow got another grounder back to the mound for the third out.
“I had to stay within myself,” Enlow said. “I wanted to focus on one pitch at a time, not get ahead of myself.”
Gauthier & Amedee, the Sixth District champion, scored two runs in the first and two in the third for a 4-1 lead.
Blaine Schexnayder ripped a two-out single in the first and scored on Grant’s double to wall in right center field. Stafford followed that with his first RBI, a line-drive double down the right field line.
In the third, Caleb Ricca led off with a single and scored on Babin’s first double. Stafford drove him in with a single,
“Payton Stafford is really swinging the bat well,” Gayle said. “He had a great day today.”