Candies moving on

Published 12:45 am Tuesday, July 1, 2014


BOUTTE — After a two-run fourth inning cut Hahnville-based Otto Candies four-run lead to 6-4, St. Charles Catholic-based Townsend Homes threatened to turn momentum in their favor for good.

But Otto Candies landed an immediate — and ultimately, decisive — counterpunch. 

Back-to-back RBI doubles by Brad Aucoin and Chase Bagot fueled a three-run fifth inning to push the lead to 9-4, paving the way to a 10-6 victory in the Second District playoffs.

The game officially eliminated Townsend Homes, while cementing Southeast Regional spots for Otto Candies and the Curtis-based River Ridge Patriots. River Ridge defeated Townsend Homes 16-0, while Otto Candies bested River Ridge 1-0 earlier in the round robin-style tournament. 

Otto Candies will begin Southeast Regional play at Delgado’s Kirsch-Rooney Stadium on Saturday.

“Obviously, (advancing) is what you set your sights on at the beginning of the summer,” said Otto Candies coach David Baudry, who guided the team to advance through the Southeast Regional and American Legion state tournament two years ago. “The thing you like is the farther you go, the more experience your players gain.” 

It was something of a nasty twist of fate for Townsend Homes in the first inning, when a controversial call negated what would have been a run on what would have been a Justin Ory sacrifice fly; the runner from third was ruled to have left too early and was called out, the third of the inning, evoking memories of a similar call in SCC’s 2-0 quarterfinal loss to Evangel.

But Townsend got on the board first, nonetheless, in the second inning after loading the bases with one out, Brady Newman, Justin Loupe and Brady Becker each drawing walks. Dane Authement was hit by a pitch to force home a run, then Zach Weber drew the fourth walk of the inning to make it 2-0. 

That chased starter Logan Billingsley in favor of reliever Trent Bergeron, who struck out Austin Weber for the inning’s third out to escape the jam. 

“We got a huge lift from (relief pitcher) Trent Bergeron today,” Baudry said. “Logan (Billingsley) is better than he showed and he knows it. It wasn’t his best day. But Trent came in and gave us some strong innings.”

Otto Candies answered with a haymaker,  a six-run bottom half, starting things off like Townsend before them with a pair of walks. Dylan Keller and Mark Abate each got on before Aucoin was hit by a pitch and Bagot walked to force home a run, making it 2-1. Zach Weber came on in relief of starter Jon Brown, but he walked Drew Favre to tie the game before back-to-back singles by Tyler Lamers and Garrett Smith each plated runs to make it 4-2. 

Nick Scioneaux came on in relief but Favre and Bergeron each singled home runs to make it a 6-2 Candies advantage.

Each team went scoreless in the third before Townsend responded in the fourth after Becker and Scioneaux got on with no outs. Zach Weber and Austin Weber each drove in runs to cut the lead in half.

But another pair of leadoff walks to Keller and Abate set the plate for Otto Candies to finish things, Aucoin plating one run on a double and Bagot driving in two on his own to make it 9-4. 

“We had some really good at-bats in that stretch,” Baudry said. “We felt like we missed out on a few more potential runs, but luckily we were able to play a little defense.”

Otto Candies went on to add one more run and Townsend Homes two more, but the lead never shrunk below four.

“We started the summer hot then we hit a lull, so that part of it is a bit disappointing,” Townsend Homes coach Wayne Stein said. “With Austin hurt at the very end, we had to juggle the rotation. It made things difficult. But I’m proud of our guys.”

Stein said the summer always proves a valuable building block for the next prep season.

“This crew here, this is what we’ve got (going into next year),” said Stein. “We’d like to have gone on because we could use the experience of more games. But we learned some things and for the questions we still need answered, it’s a matter of coaching ‘em up.”