Valero-St. Charles falters in Legion tournament

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 23, 2004

By GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

DESTREHAN – Just like Hahnville-based Otto Candies, Destrehan-based Valero-St. Charles made it to the American Legion Southeast Louisiana Tournament, but failed to make it to the State Tournament. In their first game of tournament against Mandeville-based LLOG Exploration, Valero fell 3-2.

“I guess you could say it was a pitcher’s dual,” said Valero Head Coach Marty Luquet.

Valero tied the game 2-2 in the sixth inning.

Tyrone Wether’s led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a bunt by Travis Brignac and scored on a Beau Jones double.

Leading 3-2 in the ninth inning, LLOG pitcher Ryan O’ Shea got out of a jam. Brandon Stevens led off the ninth by reaching on an infield error and moved to second on a Zach Stockton single.

Kyle Shnowski grounded out for the second run of the inning. His out did advance Stevens and Stockton up one base.

O’Shea did manage to strike out Kyle Gardere to end the game.

Shnowski’s play did move the runners up, but also hurt the team.

“We bunted it to the pitcher,” said Valero Head Coach Marty Luquet. “We certainly had our opportunities.”

Even though Shnowski got out at a critical time of the game, Luquet is looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future.

“He hit .385 for us this summer. He stepped up and played some first base,” Luquet said.

In the game against Brother Martin-based Peake BMW, Valero fell 14-10.

Peake pounded out 18 hits in the victory and saw Lance Lepine pitch seven strong innings in the victory.

Things did not look good early for Valero St. Charles. Leading 8-4, Peake BMW scored five runs to open up a 13-4 lead. Destrehan came back in the eighth and put four runs on the board of their own.

“I think we had our chances to make it interesting,” said Luquet of the Peake game. Lepine ended up striking out seven in the victory.

According to Luquet, one of the things that sets American Legion Southeastern Louisiana Tournament games apart from regular season games is the number of innings played. In the regular season it’s seven, while AL State Tournament games play nine innings.

“There is no doubt that it effects your pitching staff,” Luquet said. “It really can put a coach in a tough spot when it comes to deciding how long a pitcher stays in the game.”

During the season, Valero experienced, like many other teams, problems with Mother Nature, causing several games to be rescheduled. Luquet said that in itself was a challenge.

“It was a battle just to keep our consistency together.”