SCC’s Townsend Homes upsets Pedal Valves, earns spot in State Tourney

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Things didn’t go exactly as Wayne Stein expected last week.

While he certainly was hoping his young American Legion baseball team, Townsend Homes, would be looking forward to next week’s State Tournament at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium, he didn’t think they would be waiting for it.

The St. Charles Catholic-based team secured a spot in the State Tournament and got an unexpected week off (sort of) with a 7-6 win over the Pedal Valves Cardinals, Thursday afternoon.  

Townsend Homes captured the Second District West title and earned itself a spot in the tournament to be played July 15-19 in New Orleans.

The loss put Pedal Valves, last year’s district and state champion, in the Southeast Regional Tournament July 8-12.

Those eight teams will play for two slots in the State Tournament. The winner there earns a spot in the Mid-South Regional, which also will be hosted by Kirsch-Rooney.

That winner advances to the American Legion World Series in North Carolina.

In the meantime, Stein and his players have to wait for State, which is both a blessing and curse. He figured his 5-5 team would get to the Regional, play a few games then get some time off before starting football.

“Our school has so many kids that do both (football and baseball), there’s only two weeks they can go on vacation,” Stein said.

“Those two weeks start(ed) Saturday. So, I’m going to let them go out of town. They’ve given me all they’ve got. Whatever we’ve got, if I only have 12 to play because that’s what you need to not forfeit, we’ll play.”

They won’t be twiddling thumbs, though. Townsend will play Gauthier & Amedee at 5 p.m. today in a practice game.

Stein is proud of the way his young team played against Pedal Valves, the 2-year-old team made up of players from around the metro area, including several from Riverside Academy and St. Charles Catholic.

Playing shortstop for Pedal Valves is 2016 graduate Justin Ory, who was off to a stellar start as the shortstop at Delgado before injuring his shoulder.

On the mound was pitcher Zachary Roussel, also a 2016 graduate, who went to Baton Rouge Community College but hadn’t played ball since last summer.

Not pitching but playing second base was recent Riverside Academy graduate Mason Vicknair, another Delgado signee, who just helped lead the Rebels to the Division III state championship in May.

Stein was expecting a tough battle on the field.

“We have one 18-year-old kid against a team of 19-year-olds,” Stein said.

“They don’t have anybody going back to high school. Everybody has either been in college or going to college.”

So when Townsend Homes jumped out to a 7-0 lead, folks in the stands were shocked.

So was Stein.

So was Pedal Valves coach Danny Rhiem.

“We just couldn’t get a break,” Rhiem said.

Roussel was frustrated.

“Give them the credit,” he said. “They hit the ball.”

And they chased Roussel from the mound in the first inning.

Townsend Homes pounded 11 hits and batted around in the first inning to put up 11 runs.

Robby Gilbert drove in three runs with a double. Nick Roberts’ double made it 6-0.

Pedal Valves mounted a rally in the third, scoring all six of their runs thanks to a couple of walks and a double by Evan Keller.

But Gilbert managed to shut the Cardinals down for the remaining three innings.

“Our guys made some really, really nice plays behind him,” Stein said.

So now Stein and Townsend Homes can relax and take it easy as they wait for State.

“We’re happy to be there,” Stein said. “Honestly, we know we can’t go much further than that. All we did now is get there. I told my kids, ‘Just come out and play. We’ve got nothing to lose.’”

Lori Lyons is sports editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or