Candies finishes 3rd

Published 11:45 pm Friday, July 25, 2014


LAPLACE — Strong defensive play has been a hallmark all summer of an Otto Candies team that advanced deep into the American Legion state tournament for the third straight season. 

But in Wednesday’s tournament semifinal matchup with Shaw-based Refuel, one error begat another and then another, and the snowball effect proved too much for the Hahnville-based Candies team to bear. 

Refuel advanced to the tourney’s championship Wednesday via an 8-2 win, finding a push over the top through a five-run eighth inning and 10 Otto Candies fielding errors. 

“We had a bunch of chances tonight,” Otto Candies coach David Baudry said. “I didn’t see a loss of intensity or anything like that. Things just didn’t work out tonight.”

Refuel lost two games on the final day to Jesuit-based Retif Oil, which captured the Legion State crown.

Despite six errors through the game’s first seven innings, Otto Candies was still in the thick of things, trailing just 3-2 after scoring one run in each of the sixth and seventh innings.

But after Jace Nini’s leadoff double in the eighth, things snowballed. Nini scored on a throwing error to make it 4-2. Two more errors helped put Refuel in position for Caiden Reid and  Josh Pantoja to each drive in a pair of runs on respective singles to make it 8-2. 

“It did (snowball) a little bit,” Baudry said. “It didn’t help matters that when we had some chances to score runs, we didn’t take enough advantage.”

Austin Jackson earned the victory for Refuel, which split with Otto Candies in the Southeast Regional earlier this month. Jackson earned the victory in that game as well, a 5-1 win for Refuel.

“He pitched well for us again,” Refuel coach Kirk Bullinger said. “He threw enough strikes and got enough groundballs to not allow them to string together baserunners and make a push.”

Otto Candies was in position to rally after scoring a run in the seventh, when back-to-back walks drawn by Chase Bagot and Waylon LeBlanc led to a Todd Porche RBI single. In the sixth, Mark Abate’s leadoff double led to a Bryce Hargis RBI groundout. 

Refuel took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on RBIs by Scott Ledet and Ian Aguilar. It added a third run on an error in the fifth.

Abate took the loss, though he allowed just one hit over 4.2 innings. 

Otto Candies has finished as a top three team in the state in each of the past three summers, those three seasons representing all of Baudry’s at the team’s helm. 

“The hardest thing for me is seeing some of these guys go,” Baudry said. 

“Kids that have been a part of this run for the last three seasons. We finished second, third and now third again in the state. It’s a tough loss but it’s been a pretty good run.”