NOAH-based AMR’s run finally comes to an end

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 1, 2005

Squad falls short in regional tournament after pair of heartbreaking losses


Sports Editor

America’s Mortgage Resource, the NOAH based 17-19 Babe Ruth Louisiana State Champions, were eliminated from the Southwest Region last Saturday with a 4-3 loss to Arkansas. Friday the teams lost another heartbreaker, 3-2 in eight innings against Mississippi. Both winning runs were scored in the last inning of the games.

In the first game against Mississippi, AMR started early, with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Falgoust, Wes Hotard and P.J. Millet each walked. With bases loaded, and no outs, Mississippi’s starter, Ryan Wheat threw a wild pitch, scoring Falgoust. After Roland Rodrique and Jamal Breaux struck out, Alex McCollum singled in Hotard. The threat ended with runners in scoring position as Collis Linson ground out to Wheat. That would be the story of the game for AMR, as the team stranded a total of fourteen runners in the game.

AMR’s starting pitcher, Jamal Breaux, struggled in the second inning and was replaced by State Tournament MVP Rodrique. After an effective third inning, Rodrique developed arm trouble so AMR called upon their ace, Alex McCollum, to complete the game. He pitched wonderfully, striking out eight with no walks in six innings. He surrendered only five hits, but one was a crucial double in the top of the eighth inning, leading to Mississippi’s winning run. Mississippi also replaced their starter in the third inning. Greg Gattis surrendered only two hits in the last six innings. AMR ended the game with only three hits in their bid to come away with the victory.

In Saturday’s elimination game, AMR faced the powerful Arkansas team who entered the Regional Tournament with a 34-0 record. Their loss came to tournament favorite Denham Springs, the host, 6-0. Starting pitcher Blake Gillies kept the Arkansas bats at bay for five innings. After a questionable call to end the inning, Arkansas broke threw with three slap singles. The big blow was a three run double off of the centerfield wall. Gillies was then replaced by Rodrique, who finished the inning.

With his arm again hurting in the bottom of the sixth, AMR again called upon ace McCollum. “After the fourth, I asked Roland (Rodrique) how he felt,” AMR Manager Keith Gillies said. “He said great! I asked him if Blake got us through five, could he finish. He said yes. Alex told me he could go an inning too. I asked Alex if he was sure, and he said yes. My thinking was with a three run lead, with our two best pitchers ready, we could get it done and save Trayvon (Lilly) for Sunday’s game. It just did not work out. Head Coach Scott Boudreaux added, “It was brutally hot out there. With the rain shower right before the game, and a field temperature of over 100 degrees, the humidity was a killer. The coaches Gillies, Herb Stell, and Boudreaux) talked about pulling Blake after the questionable call, but we thought he should finish the inning.”

AMR’s scored two runs in the fourth. Falgoust reached on an error and advanced to third, after stealing second on the groundout by Hotard. Falgoust scored on the single by Millet, who advanced to third on the single by Rodrique. McCollum then sacrificed home Millet. In the third, Collis Linson leadoff with a double. He held second with a groundout by James Callahan. Greg Sentimore bunted Linson to third and Linson scored on a double by Falgoust. That ended the AMR scoring.

In August, AMR will travel for a weekend tournament on the Gulf Coast. “We like to end the season with a fun tournament,” said Keith Gillies. “We will play a five game weekend round robin, let the kids have some fun at the pool, and let each of them play about five innings per game. We will bat everyone. It is a free substitution tournament.” Gillies added, “Some of our kids will not make the trip, so we usually add five or six players from the St. Tammany based Maui Jim team. Coach Ray Lizana is a good friend, so we always have a great time.” Last season the team traveled to Cocoa Beach, Florida and placed third in the prestigious “Expo East Coast Bash.”