A season that almost did not happen could have a championship ending after all for Gauthier Amedee.
The Wombats (18-2-1) won’t have the chance to advance to American Legion World Series again. But in a coronavirus pandemic-altered season, Gauthier Amedee coach Marty Luquet is ready to see the Ascension Parish squad take its chances at the American Legion State Tournament that begins Thursday.
“We said at the beginning of the year that this was a world series-caliber team ... without a world series to go to,” Luquet said. “On a 15-player roster, we have nine pitchers. There are guys who can hit and run. This is that summer where you play anybody, any place, any time you can fit it in your schedule.
“The kids need to play. A lot of teams have gone off to play Dixie or in other places so they can go play in a world series. We are a legion team, and we’re not going anywhere. The state tournament starts tomorrow, and we’re excited about that.”
American Legion leadership canceled plans for its usual regional tourneys and World Series early in the pandemic. Louisiana organizers held out hope for a local season and the state tourney that will be played multiple sites.
Pool play begins Thursday for Gauthier Amedee at its home site, Riverside Academy, and at St. Charles Catholic. Pool play at three other sites is set for Friday. Quarterfinals are Saturday at Lutcher High and Kirsch Rooney. Semifinals and finals are set for Sunday at Lutcher with the final scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Gauthier Amedee started its season with a loss to the Houma-based Southland Hogs and bookended it with a loss to Sheets Baseball of Sterlington, coached by former St. Amant High and Major League standout Ben Sheets.
The Wombats face Gulf South Office Products at noon and then play the Bill Hood Titans at 5 p.m. Reigning champion Gibbs Construction and Jesuit’s Retief Oil are the tourney teams the Wombats are most familiar with.
Luquet placed an emphasis on assembling a team that included a number of 2020 seniors who saw most of their spring prep seasons wiped out by COVID-19. It has paid off.
The team features LSU-Eunice signees Brock Bartholemy of Dutchtown and twins Teddy and Trey Webb of St. Amant. Bartholemy (3-1), East Ascension’s Tyler Theriot (4-0) and St. Amant’s Slade Zeppuhar (3-0) are the top starting pitchers.
Zeppuhar also is the top hitter at .422. Former EAHS star Blaise Foote of BRCC (.410), St. Amant’s Reese Lipoma (.383). One of team’s few youngsters, Dutchtown sophomore Will Delaune (.379), is another top hitter. Teddy Webb and Connor Adams also rank among the top pitchers and hitters.
“Our goal was to get in 30 games. And if we can play in all five this week we will be close,” Luquet said. “It’s fun watching them compete.”
2020 American Legion State tournament
At St. Charles Catholic
Townsend Homes Blue vs Townsend Homes Gold, 1 p.m.
Townsend Homes Gold vs Ernest J. Henry Post 438, 3:30 p.m.
Ernest J. Henry Post 438 vs Townsend Homes Blue, 5:30 p.m.
At Riverside Academy
Gauthier Amedee vs Gulf South Office Products, noon
Gulf South Office Products vs Bill Hood Titans, 2:30 p.m.
Bill Hood Titans vs Gauthier Amedee, 5 p.m.
At St. Landry Indians-Opelousas
St. Landry Indians vs Gibbs Construction, 1 p.m.
Gibbs Construction vs Crowley Millers, 4 p.m.
Crowley Millers vs St. Landry Indians, 7 p.m.
At John Ryan Stadium
Retif Oil Oilers vs Lucky Bags Cornholes, 11 a.m.
Lucky Bags Cornholes vs Ponstein’s, 2:30 p.m.
Ponstein’s vs Retif Oil Oilers, 6 p.m.
Noranda Bulldogs vs Peck’s Seafood, 1 p.m.
Peck’s Seafood vs Refuel, 4 p.m.
Refuel vs Noranda Bulldogs, 7 p.m.
NOTE: Eight teams advance to the quarterfinals set for Saturday at Lutcher and Kirsch Rooney at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Any team with a 2-0 record in pool play advances. Tie-breakers of runs allowed, runs scored and runs differential will determine the other teams that advance. Semifinals and a 6:30 p.m. final will be played Sunday at Lutcher.