The John Curtis-based River Ridge Patriots haven’t had Daniel Cabrera this summer during the American Legion season.
The two-time Player of the Year on The New Orleans Advocate’s All-Metro team has been busy traveling and playing in showcases.
Several other players have missed plenty of action as well this summer.
But that hasn’t stopped the Patriots from bringing a 10-3 record into the American Legion Southeast Regional Tournament that starts on Saturday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
The River Ridge Patriots play St. Charles Catholic-based Townsend Homes on Saturday around noon in the second game of the eight-team tournament that concludes on Wednesday.
“We have had guys in and out, but we have done pretty well,” said coach Jeff Curtis. “This is a good tournament. It gives you something to play for and allows you to set some goals as a team.”
The top two teams advance to the state tournament that begins on July 23 at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
Curtis is looking to replace seven seniors, including four starters, from the team that won the Catholic League regular season title this past spring before getting upset in the first round of the LHSAA’s Class 5A playoffs by Chalmette.
“This (American Legion) is a good opportunity for us to having some new faces in the lineup and get some live at bats against good quality competition,” Curtis said. “I get to see some of the holes that we have to plug. We can find out the guys who are ready to step up and move into a more prominent role. Ultimately it’s about piecing the puzzle together for the spring.”
Brandon Davis, the team’s leading hitter this summer, has been splendid at the plate, batting over .500. The versatile Davis has played both outfield and infield this summer.
“He has established himself as a guy who will help lead our team,” said Curtis.
Jordin Labruzza, one of the starters from the spring, has been a staple at shortstop.
Austin Haensel has had a good summer at the plate (.400) and on the mound.
Ian Landreneau and Dax Ford have given the team quality innings on the mound.
But several other players will miss the tournament to compete in a wood bat tournament in Georgia.
“We’ll be a little shorthanded, but we’re going to compete hard and we’re looking forward to competing,” Curtis said.
Hahnville-based Otto Candies will play Rummel-based Deanie’s Seafood in the tournament opener at 9 a.m.
The other four teams in the tournament, playing Saturday afternoon beginning at 3:30 are Peake BMW (Brother Martin), Southland Hogs (Covenant Christian), Houma Pelicans (Vandebilt Catholic) and Ponstein’s (Holy Cross).
Six teams have already qualified for the state tournament.
One of those teams is Jesuit-based Retif Oil, which made it all the way to the national championship game last season.
The other teams that have already earned their way to the state tournament are: Pedal Valves (East St. John), Gauthier & Amedee (East Ascension), Gulf Coast (Chalmette), GulfCoast 29'ers (Abbeville) and the St. Landy Indians (Opelousas).
The winner of the state tournament advances to the regional tournament in North Little Rock, Ark., with the winner of that advancing to the World Series in Shelby, NC.