Final clash of rivals goes to Valero

Published 11:45 pm Friday, July 20, 2012



NEW ORLEANS — Even with a state tournament berth already secured for each side and relatively little on the line, Valero-St. Charles and Otto Candies were ready to go to battle Wednesday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.

After all, when you have a bunch of Hahnville boys on one side and Destrehan boys on the other, the competitive juices are sure to flow.

On this day, the Destrehan side emerged victorious, Valero-St. Charles an 8-6 winner over Otto Candies at the American Legion Southeast Regional, behind 13 hits and a strong relief pitching effort from Hunter Abadie.

“Whenever Destrehan and Hahnville get together, we’re gonna play each other like it’s the World Series,” said Valero coach Marty Luquet. “Whether it’s in tiddlywinks, horseshoes, you name it.”

The loss officially sealed Otto Candies as the fourth seed of the four teams advancing to play at the Legion state tournament at Louisiana-Lafayette. Otto Candies qualified with wins over Gauthier-Amedee (Dutchtown/St. Amant/East Ascension) and Peake BMW (Brother Martin)

Valero (24-11) scored six runs in the first two innings, continuing its recent trend of jumping on an opponent in the early stages of a game. Valero scored seven runs in the third inning of its win over LLOG (Mandeville) and four runs in the first three innings of its win over Refuel (Shaw). It scored 11 runs in the fourth inning of a win over Otto Candies to cap the district playoffs.

Abadie entered Wednesday’s game in the third inning, with two outs, the bases loaded and the score tied at six.

He escaped the game by inducing a flyout and went on to allow no runs and just two hits in 6.1 innings, while walking just one batter.

“In tournaments like this, you go through your pitchers quickly,” said Luquet. “We were able to find a guy that threw strikes and made them work to hit the ball and move baserunners. Hunter came in and shut it down.”

Abadie said the tournament being in its fourth day of play didn’t wear out the players — especially given the competition.

“We were definitely pumped up to play our best,” he said. “I just focused on trying to get ahead of each batter and maintain my control.”

Jesse Bryant and Blake Hymel led Valero at the plate. Bryant went 4 for 5 with two RBIs, while Hymel reached base in all five of his plate appearances, going 2 for 2 with two RBIs, three walks and a double. Tanner Hayes also had a strong day, going 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a stolen base.

Otto Candies (19-12) got strong games from Tyler Simmons (3 for 4) and Travis Faucheaux (2 for 4, two RBIs).

Jared Laque started for Otto Candies on the mound, but he struggled with control, walking the game’s first three batters.

Brooks Vial came on in relief to face the game’s fourth batter, Bryant, who singled home Valero’s first run to cut what was a 2-0 Otto Candies lead to 2-1. Kade Granier grounded out to plate another run, then Hymel stroked a single to collect two RBIs and make it a 4-2 Valero lead. A two-out RBI single by Hayes made it 5-2.

Otto Candies added its third run on a fielder’s choice groundout by Mike Ford that scored Ty Cologne.

Valero added another run in the second on back to back singles by Brock Bennedetto and Bryant.

Otto Candies surged back to tie in the bottom half of the inning after Lamers walked and Dylan Keller singled to lead off the inning. Cologne was hit by a pitch, then Lamers scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-4. Faucheaux hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5, then a Simmons single and an error allowed Cologne to cross to tie the game. Abadie came on in relief of starter Ryan Brewer to end the inning.

The flood of runs on both sides subsided, no more crossing the plate until the sixth inning, when Sam Steib singled home Hymel, who doubled, for the eventual winning run.

Then in the eighth, Valero picked up an insurance run on a suicide squeeze bunt by Hayes, scoring Bryant.

Vial took the loss but finished the game, going eight innings and allowing 13 hits. He finished the tournament 1-1 after notching Otto’s win in the opener against Gauthier-Amedee.