The Pedal Valves Cardinals and Gauthier Amedee did not disappoint.
Despite being forced to endure a five-plus hour weather delay, the state’s two most recent state champions went toe to toe for 10 innings before Pedal Valves first baseman Cory Cook laced a run-scoring double to score the winning run in a 5-4 victory against the Wombats Saturday night at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in the second round of the American Legion Baseball State Tournament.
Cook’s hit with no outs in the top of the 10th inning scored center fielder Nick Lorio from first base after Lorio walked to lead off the inning. Reliever T.J. Thomas nailed down the win with a scoreless bottom half of the 10th.
The victory was Pedal Valves first of the tournament following a first-day bye and second of the summer against Gauthier Amedee, which advanced the two-time champions from 2016 and 2017 into Sunday’s winner’s bracket while sending the reigning state champion Wombats into an elimination game.
Pedal Valves had defeated Gauthier Amedee 6-4 three weeks ago in the championship game of the inaugural Louisiana Challenge three weeks ago in a tournament featuring Legion state champions from five states.
“Was that unbelievable," Pedal Valves coach Danny Riehm said. “I told the team I’ve been putting on this uniform since I was 5-years-old and that’s probably the best baseball game I’ve been a part of."
An American Legion baseball independent, Pedal Valves (27-6) recorded its 11th straight victory overall to move forward against Jesuit-based Retif Oil (14-7-2) in a game scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Kirsch-Rooney.
East Ascension-based Gauthier Amedee (25-8) moved into an 11:30 a.m. elimination game against the winner of Saturday night’s elimination game between Destrehan-based ES&H and Hahnville-based Otto Candies.
“It was a classic game, a great game between two good teams," Gauthier Amedee coach Marty Luquet said. “Early in the game they got a couple of two-out hits and then nothing was bigger than Cook’s hit in the gap."
As the second of four games scheduled for Saturday, Pedal Valves and Gauthier Amedee were delayed five-plus hours by severe rain and lightning storms that arose around mid-day.
“It’s a very big first-round win for us," said Cook, a De La Salle product and Delgado Community College signee. “(Gauthier Amedee is) probably the other best team in the tournament and it was a game we needed to have. We’re psyched about this."
Pedal Valves sent the game into extra innings after squandering a 3-0 lead by scoring a single run in the top of the seventh via a RBI-single by second baseman Gavin Freeman. Third baseman Avery Schexnaydre started the rally with a one-out single against Gauthier Amedee closer Chad Kennedy, moved to second on a balk and then scored on Freeman’s one-out hit into center field.
The Cardinals used two starting pitchers to record their first victory of the double-elimination tournament that continues Sunday with four games scheduled for 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Thomas (3-1) earned the victory with six innings of relief in place of starter Josh MacCord. Thomas struck out two and walked two while allowing five hits.
“Our coaching staff wanted to win this game enough to use two starters,’’ Riehm said. “You could see (Gauthier Amedee) was doing basically the same thing. It was two teams that didn’t want to lose, two heavyweights who were going to give it their all."
Gauthier Amedee completed their rally from a 3-0 deficit by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead.
Wombats shortstop Brayden Caskey was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth, advanced to second via a wild pitch and moved to third on an infield single by left fielder Grant Griffin. Caskey scored on a groundout by center fielder Mason Zeringue that right fielder Zane Zeppuhar followed with a go-ahead RBI single to center field.
The Wombats scratched out single runs in the second and fourth innings to trim their initial deficit to 3-2.
Zeringue singled to lead off the fourth, advanced to third on a ground out following a strikeout and scored on a bases-loaded walk to first baseman Blaise Foote following a hit batter and a walk.
Zeppuhar doubled to lead off the second, advanced to third on a groundout to second by designated hitter Landon Manson and then scored on third baseman Trey Webb’s groundout.
The Cardinals added to their 1-0 lead with two runs in the second when designated hitter Avery Schexnaydre and shortstop T.J. Thomas doubled in consecutive at-bats with two out and center fielder Nick Lorio followed with a run-scoring infield single to second.
Pedal Valves manufactured the game’s first run in the first when Lorio reached via a two-out, two-base throwing error and following a walk scored on a RBI-single to right field by right fielder Steven Klein.
Though disappointed, the Wombats remain confident despite the defeat.
“You don’t have to play many more games in the loser’s bracket (than by being in the winner’s bracket)," Luquet said. “You just can’t lose anymore. You have to win the rest of your games. From a pitching staff standpoint, it just means that everyone is on deck."
State baseball tournament
at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium, New Orleans
Game 1: Bill Hood Titans (Lakeshore) 11, Otto Candies (Hahnville) 0, 5 innings
Game 2: Gauthier Amedee (East Ascension) 14, St. Landry Bank Indians (Opelousas Catholic) 1, 5 innings
Game 3: Southland Hogs (Covenant Christian) 3, Townsend Homes (St. Charles Catholic) 2
Game 4: Retif Oil (Jesuit) 10, ES&H (Destrehan) 0, 5 innings
Game 5: Crowley Millers 9, Bill Hood 4
Game 6: Pedal Valves 5, Gauthier Amedee 4, 10 innings
Game 7: ES&H (8-12-5) vs. Otto Candies (18-15), n
Game 8: Townsend Homes (10-9-1) vs. St. Landry Bank (15-9), n
Game 9: Game 8 winner vs. Bill Hood, 9 a.m. (elimination game)
Game 10: Gauthier Amedee (25-8) vs. Game 7 winner, 11:30 a.m. (elimination game)
Game 11: Southland Hogs vs. Crowley Millers (16-2), 2 p.m.
Game 12: Retif Oil vs. Pedal Valves (26-6), 4:30 p.m.