Otto Candies wins Southeast Regional crown
Published 11:45 pm Friday, July 11, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
NEW ORLEANS — Two years ago, Otto Candies advanced farther than a Hahnville-based team ever had in American Legion competition.
The team nailed down another first on Wednesday night.
Behind a strong complete- game performance from right-hander Tyler Lamers and Dylan Keller’s two RBIs, Otto Candies pushed past Shaw-based Refuel 4-2 in the championship game of the American Legion Southeast Regional.
It marks the first time a Hahnville-based Legion team has won the regional, which also saw the squad down teams based from Jesuit, Rummel and Brother Martin.
“It’s pretty big,” Otto Candies coach David Baudry said. “When you look at the level of competition here, it certainly says a lot about the group of guys we have here. To me, if you want to be a state champion, it really starts with winning this tournament here.”
Otto Candies (17-6-1) will advance to the American Legion state tournament as its top-seeded team. The tourney is set to be played July 19-23 at Delgado’s Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
The game was originally scheduled to go nine innings, as Legion postseason rules dictate, but due to a rain delay the decision was made beforehand to make it a seven-inning contest.
Refuel defeated Otto Candies Tuesday at the double-elimination tourney, accounting for Otto Candies’ lone loss at the event.
“We played much harder than yesterday, I thought,” Baudry said. “That’s to take nothing away from Refuel and (pitcher) Austin Jackson. He was tough. But I thought we approached this game with a lot more focus. Even so, we left a small army on base tonight. We’ll need to do better if we’re going to get through state.”
Keller plated his team’s first run in the bottom of the first inning, making it 1-0 on a ground ball after singles by Lamers and Todd Porche.
Chase Bagot made it 2-0 in the third inning, driving in Keller on a single to left.
Refuel cut the lead in half after Matt Keller’s deep double to left in the third, but Dylan Keller fired back in the fourth with a bases-loaded single on a flare to right.
Refuel added a run in the sixth to close the game, but Candies loaded the bases again in the sixth after Porche’s leadoff triple. Brad Aucoin drew a walk to force Porche home.
“We got down early and, facing a pitcher like Lamers, we could have easily lost focus,” said Refuel coach Kirk Bullinger. “This tournament’s 14th game, we were able to hang in and give ourselves a chance … He’s tough. He can throw four pitches and locates them all extremely well. You know when he’s out there you’re gonna have to win a low-scoring game.”
Though Otto Candies lost a few chances to break the game open, Lamers never seemed to lose firm control of the game’s flow, from start to finish. He allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks.
For the regional, Lamers pitched 16 innings, allowing two earned runs, seven hits and seven walks while striking out 14.
“He threw a shutout (Saturday), caught a game, played first base, second base and shortstop,” Baudry said. “There isn’t an official regional MVP, but there’s no doubt who our MVP is.”
Refuel, Peake BMW (Brother Martin), Deanie’s Seafood (Rummel) and Retif Oil (Jesuit) each advance to the state tournament.
Otto Candies advanced to state in 2012 and finished as state runner-up, behind champion Retif.