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St. Charles celebrates World Series championship

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / August 12, 1998

LULING – Family, friends and supporters were on hand at the West Bank Bridge Park Friday afternoon to welcome home the 13-year-old Dixie League World Series champion St. Charles Parish All-Stars.The All-Stars defeated Tennessee, 8-7, in the championship game held in Troy, Ala., Thursday night, after becoming the first team from St. CharlesParish to advance to the Dixie League World Series.

“It was awesome,” coach Ray Labat said. “It was long overdue.”The All-Stars advanced to the World Series by defeating Shreveport twice for the state championship. Labat said he believed the team could winstate but did not know how they would fare in the national tournament.

“You have to believe you can do it for it to happen,” Labat said of the state tournament.

“We wanted to take it one step at a time. When we won state, I wasworried how we would play in the World Series. We didn’t want to go twoand out. We wanted to do well.”St. Charles opened the tournament with victories over North Carolina andTennessee before defeating Georgia behind the pitching of Denis Lanaux, who struck out a World Series record 14 batters. A win against the hostteam from Troy put the All-Stars in the winners’ bracket against Tennessee. Tennessee slowed down the All-Stars, throwing a no-hittergainst them in an 8-0 victory and putting them a step away from elimination.

St. Charles bounced back to take a nine-run lead over Troy the followingday. Troy rallied to tie the score, but the All-Stars came back to win thegame, 12-9, in nine innings.

That set up a rematch against Tennessee in the championship game later that evening. This time it was the All-Stars who fell behind in the earlyinnings, 7-1. But Chence Evans came in in relief to hold Tennessee in checkand the All-Stars steadily chipped away to take an 8-7 lead.

Evans then came through with a strikeout with two runners on and two outs in the last inning to preserve the victory.

“I was nervous,” Evans said. “I didn’t want them to hit and score runs. Idid my best to come in and throw strikes and shut them down.”It was that kind of performance that Labat said typified this team. Labatsaid when some of the hitters that were hot in the state tournament went cold in the World Series, other players were there to pick them up until they got back on track. The same went for the pitching.”Team and heart,” Labat said of what was the key to the championship.

Labat also gave credit to his coaches. Lance Brown has been working withhim for years and Quinn Guidry, who plays football and baseball at Nicholls State University, worked with the pitchers.

Guidry said he called the games as if he was pitching. He said he felt likethe team could win the World Series after defeating winning the state championship.

“We had a big win over Shreveport and coming into the World Series, I thought we had a good chance,” Guidry said. “The pitchers did a great joband put us in a position to win.”Members of the World Series champions are Joey Bourgeois, Breland Brown, Sebyron Daniels Jr., Chence Evans, Craig Gaubert, Anthony Gordon,Raymond Labat III, Antoine Lanaux III, Kyle Mineo, Connor Morel, Reid Owens, Rustin Rebowe and Jared Taylor.

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