Hahnville-based club looks to take home crown

Published 11:45 pm Friday, July 18, 2014


BOUTTE — While Hahnville-based Otto Candies will be in somewhat unfamiliar territory as the top-seeded team at the American Legion State Tournament, there may yet be a feeling of Déjà vu once the team takes the field at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium Saturday. 

Otto Candies is set to square off with Jesuit-based Retif Oil in the opening game of the double-elimination tourney, scheduled to begin 35 minutes after the conclusion of the tournament’s 3:30 p.m. game between Gulf Coast Bank and Peake BMW.

Retif and Candies were opening day opponents at the Southeast Regional two weeks ago, a game Otto Candies won 3-0 behind a one-hit shutout by pitcher Tyler Lamers. Two years ago, Retif was also the last team Otto Candies faced in Candies’ lone state tourney appearance, Retif coming out on top in the championship game of that tourney. 

This is the first time Otto Candies has ever been the top-seed in the state tournament, a distinction the team earned after winning four games in five days to emerge as champions of the Southeast Regional. Like the regional, the state tournament will be double-elimination. 

This will be Otto Candies second appearance ever at the state tourney, and the team will be seeking its first championship. Both state appearances have come under Baudry, who guided Rummel-based Nationwide Restoration to the American Legion national championship in 2006. 

Five teams from the Southeast Regional advanced to the state tourney, and Otto Candies coach David Baudry said he believes there’s a good chance his team may see any or all of them again: besides Retif and Candies, Shaw-based Refuel, Brother Martin-based Peake BMW and Rummel-based Deanie’s Seafood all qualified. Those teams will compete with two Legion teams based out of the Lafayette area: the Gulf Coast Bank 29ers, the Crowley Millers and the St. Landry Bank Indians. 

Unlike the regional, to advance from the state tournament to the Mid-South Regional, a team must win the championship.

“It doesn’t really change the way we prepare,” Otto Candies coach David Baudry said. “In all likelihood, we’ll have our rotation set the same way. The difference is we’ve got to be ready to win one or two games on Wednesday (the final day). It makes who wins that fourth game a little more important because you’d like to go into that last day with someone needing to beat you twice.”

Lamers was the star for his team at the Southeast Regional. He pitched 16 innings, allowing two earned runs, seven hits and seven walks while striking out 14. 

Most importantly, he collected two wins. 

“We’re gonna ask him to do the same thing,” Baudry said. 

“He went nine innings in the first game then comes back and throws seven complete in the finale. His performance was absolutely huge for us.”

He wasn’t alone. Otto Candies allowed no more than four runs in any of its victories, with Logan Billingsley and Mark Abate each earning wins on the mound. 

Abate, Waylon LeBlanc and Dylan Keller also earned praise from Baudry for their offensive output.

“I thought Mark Abate gave us a very nice performance in both areas,” Baudry said. 

“Waylon LeBlanc had a good tournament with his bat in that nine-hole. Those two guys were very, very steady each game for us, and Dylan Keller came up with a really big hit or two as well.”