Otto Candies set for Mid-South

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012



BOUTTE – Hahnville-based Otto Candies will be breathing rarified air for the program Thursday when it kicks off its participation in the American Legion Mid-South Regional.

Otto Candies, representing Louisiana at the tourney along with Jesuit-based Retif Oil, will face off with Oklahoma’s American Legion champion, Edmond Sandlot Baseball, at 4:30 p.m. at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in New Orleans.

Retif won the Louisiana state Legion championship last week, defeating Otto Candies in the final game, 5-2. But because Retif was already the designated host for this year’s regional, a second team from the Louisiana state tourney was able to advance regardless of Retif’s placement.

Otto Candies coach David Baudry has been here before, even if his team has not. Baudry has coached other teams into the Mid-South regional, one of those – the 2006 Rummel/Nationwide Restoration team – advancing from there to win the Legion national championship.

Win or lose, Baudry said that this will make for fantastic experience for his players.

“That tournament brings you to face the best that American Legion baseball has to offer,” he said. “You’ll usually find teams that are older and extremely experienced. The atmosphere is much better, a championship atmosphere the entire way.”

Baudry said that the biggest key to success in the double elimination tournament is pitching depth, something Otto Candies boasts and a key ingredient to its success at both the Southeast Regional and state tournament. Brooks Vial, Tyler Simmons and Tyler Lamers have headlined the starting rotation and all gone deep into games, at times twice in the same tourney.

But this competition, Baudry said, is a different animal.

“It is extremely taxing on your pitching staff. There are no easy outs, at all,” said Baudry. “We learned that the team we face first, their two through eight hitters went 11 for 17 in their championship game. So we’re looking at a lineup stacked full of hitters. Pitching depth is not a problem for us, but these games will stretch you thin.”

As such, he said that he might be less inclined to save pitchers for later, as he might have in the previous two tournaments.

“Because of the caliber of the competition you face there, if you have a chance to win a game you probably have to do all you can to take it,” he said. “Throw who you have to get out with a win, then worry about who starts tomorrow’s game later.”

Not much is known to Baudry about the other teams at the tournament – aside from Retif, whom Otto Candies has faced three times in the past three weeks. As such, he said for Otto Candies, the focus is more about what his team can do than anyone else.

What his team can do has proven pretty good as of late.

“Their desire to win has been big. That’s goes a very long way, especially during the summer,” said Baudry. “And they’ve been playing the right way.”

According to Retif coach Joey Latino, that can largely be attributed to their coach.

“You don’t have to look any further than their head coach. He’s done an outstanding job,” said Latino, whose team had to rally in the ninth inning to beat Otto Candies in their state tournament meeting prior to the championship game. “They play to the final pitch and they’re mentally tough. And that comes down to Dave Baudry, believe me.”