Jesuit-based Retif Oil put itself in the driver’s seat Monday night, rallying from a two-run, ninth-inning deficit to surprise Ascension Parish-based Gauthier & Amedee 6-4 in the American Legion double-elimination state tournament at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in New Orleans.
Ben Hess’ two-run triple with one out in the top of the ninth reversed Retif Oil’s fortune. Trent Forshag’s sacrifice fly capped a four-run ninth-inning splurge.
“Two strikes on me, I choked up on my bat, spread my stance a bit and put the ball in play,” Hess said. “I expected an off-speed pitch, but he didn’t (throw one) and I did what I could with it.”
Retif Oil tallied six runs on five hits. Hess finished with a game-high three RBIs.
“We’re resilient. We don’t give up,” Hess said.
At 4 p.m. Tuesday, Delhomme Drillers will face Gauthier & Amedee in an elimination game. Thirty minutes after that, River Ridge will face Retif Oil. Retif is guaranteed to play Wednesday regardless of the result of that game.
In the third inning, back-to-back singles by Retif’s Hess and Trent Forshag placed two runners on base before a wild pitch advanced them. Then Adam Tarver hit Hayden Fuentes in the helmet, loading the bases with two outs.
Tarver hurled a fastball. Scott Crabtree connected. But the baseball skidded to the second baseman. Side retired.
In the ensuing half inning, Retif Oil wasn’t as fortunate.
Right-hander Davis Martin walked the first batter, surrendered a shallow-left field single to the next, paving the way for Tristan Babin’s RBI shot up the gap. It broke the 1-1 deadlock, which came via identical Retif Oil and Gauthier & Amedee throwing errors in the opening inning.
The lead ballooned next.
Brenan Grant’s photo finish at first base following his grounder to shortstop scored Caleb Ricca and Babin and grew Gauthier & Amedee’s lead to 4-1 after three.
Hess’ sacrifice fly to deep right field off Hunter Sanford in the top of the seventh narrowed the deficit to two runs in the seventh.
It appeared Retif Oil wouldn’t narrow the deficit any further, but Hess again delivered against Blaine Schexnayder after five batters produced a groundout, back-to-back strikeouts, a single and a strikeout leading up to the ninth inning.
“Blaine is our leader. I’m extremely comfortable with him,” G&A coach Conrad Gayle said. “If I had to do it again, I would. No doubt about it, but heck of a job by Jesuit.”
Retif Oil’s Todd Crabtree finished off G&A, fanning its last three batters to collect the save and score its third win of the tournament.