Having lost twice in 32 games, Gauthier Amedee has not proven to be invincible.
But the Wombats are living up to that billing in the American Legion Baseball State tournament.
Riding a 12-run seventh inning in which 17 batters accounted for 12 hits in 13 at-bats, the Southeast Division champions broke open a close game to overwhelm Best Chevrolet 16-, in the final winners bracket contest of the double-elimination tournament Monday night at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
Gauthier Amedee (30-2) improved to 3-0 in the tournament by winning its eighth straight and 27th in 28 games. With the victory the Wombats secured a berth in Wednesday’s championship round regardless of the outcome of its Tuesday night game versus the St. Landry Indians.
Best (7-8) sustained its first loss of the tournament in three games, but remained alive in the championship picture. The De La Salle-based team plays Retif Oil at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in a pairing of First District champion (Retif) and runner-up.
“We started off a little slow for us,’’ said GA center fielder Zane Zeppuhar who was among eight Wombats to record multiple hits in a 20-hit attack. “I think we were getting ourselves out a lot, at least I know I was. Then we started tattooing the ball in the seventh inning.’’
Seventeen batters later, a somewhat precarious 4-2 lead had been transformed into a track meet as the Wombats recorded four doubles and a triple among their dozen hits in the seventh.
“It was 4-2 going into the seventh,’’ GA coach Marty Luquet said. “That game was in jeopardy, so we responded to their threat.
“I had been asking for a crooked number the whole game. We did a really great job early in the game of getting hits and driving in runs with two outs. And that’s a sign of a great team if you can do that.’’
The Wombats scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-0 lead before surrendering two bases-loaded walks that accounted for Best Chevrolet’s runs.
Carson Dabadie and Jack Merrifield led the Wombats in hits with each going 3-for-5. Dabadie had three RBIs and Merrifield one.
Reed Babin went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs and Brayden Caskey went 2-for-4 with a double and triple and three RBIs from his leadoff spot.
Additionally, Zeppuhar was 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI, Layton Lee went 2-for-4 with a double and sacrifice , Jordan Badame was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Preston Thrash went 2-for-5.
Starter Harrison Hutson (4-0) struck out four, walked two and scattered six hits in 5½ innings before giving way to relievers Blaise Foote and Thrash. Thrash struck out all four batters he faced to close the game.
“I’m superstitious,’’ said Zeppuha. “So I wouldn’t say that (we’re invincible). We can play well when we play to the best of our ability. But we’ve got to come out every day and play that way.’’
RETIF OIL 11, ES&H 0: Starting pitcher Will Moran combined with Gannon Hyer on a four-hit shutout in addition to delivering a two-run single for the final three runs of the second inning to ignite the First District champions to a five-inning victory in an elimination game.
Jesuit-based Retif also scored twice in the top of the third, three times in the fourth and three more times in the fifth to rebound in impressive fashion from an emotional 6-4 loss to Gauthier Amedee in a late Sunday night game.
Retif advanced to play Best Chevrolet in a Tuesday elimination game that pairs the top two teams from the First District while Destrehan-based ES&H (13-11) exited the game with a 2-2 record.
Moran (4-1) struck out six, walked two and allowed two hits in working 3⅓ scoreless innings before leaving in favor of Hyer. Moran’s exit from the mound was to save his pitch-count limit and allow the left-hander to be available Wednesday should Retif advance.
Eight Retif players collected hits with Chris Favalora going 2-for-3 to match the two hits by Dardar. Favalora, Zack Casebonne and Connor Bendeck also had single RBI for Retif.
ST. LANDRY INDIANS 6, SOUTHLAND HOGS 2: Right-hander Jobee Boone pitched six strong innings and went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI to pace the Southwest Division champions to a historic victory in the state tournament.
Playing in their third straight elimination game, St. Landry (12-5) improved to 3-1 in the double-elimination tournament to become the first Opelousas Post 45 team to win three games in the state tournament, said coach Matt Standiford.
Boone, a senior to be at Westminster Christian, proved pivotal in helping the Indians surpass last summer’s two-win total in the tournament by striking out five, walking three, scattering five hits over 6 innings to improve to 2-0.
Boone allowed two runs, but only one that was earned against a Hogs team that had beaten the Indians three times this summer, including a 2-0 decision in each team’s Friday tournament opener. Boone also had a two-run, two-out single in the bottom of the fourth inning that plated the tying and winning runs.
Southland (25-7) exited the tournament after dropping a second straight game following its opening win against St. Landry.
St. Landry scored three runs in the fourth to erase a 2-1 deficit and added two more in the fifth on a Southland error and a RBI-single by left fielder Andre Fontenot to account for the final margin.
In addition to Boone’s three hits, catcher Landon Trosclair went 2-for-3 and scored two runs and shortstop Zachary Mengarelli went 2-for-4 to pace St. Landry’s 10-hit attack against three Southland pitchers. Trosclair, first baseman Alex Ludeau and Fontenot also contributed RBI for the Indians.
First baseman McCade LeBlanc went 3-for-4 to account for half of Southland’s six hits off Boone and reliever Caplan Sorrel. Designated hitter Jace Gatlin had the Hogs’ lone RBI.