SULPHUR — Devin Speligene’s two-run triple ignited a five-run seventh inning that helped Gauthier & Amedee claim a 9-5 victory over Peake BMW in the final game of the American Legion state baseball tournament on Wednesday.
With the victory, Gauthier (42-3-2) advances to the American Legion Mid-South Regional Tournament that begins Aug. 8 in Little Rock, Ark., and also features teams from Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kansas.
The game was tied at 4-4 before Speligene’s game-changing triple. A single by Colin Delaune scored Speligene, giving Gauthier & Amedee some much-needed breathing room.
Though Brother Martin-based Peake needed to win twice to wrestle the title away, G&A coach Justin Morgan said there was pressure on his squad.
“I think we did come out tight,” Morgan said. “I think the guys felt some pressure to end it in one game. We had chances to break it open earlier but couldn’t get the big hit we needed until Devin’s triple.”
Morgan praised the efforts of starting pitchers Corey Gaconi of Peake and Gauthier’s Cole Stapler.
Gaconi ultimately gave up 15 hits with and struck out three but worked his way out of several jams. Stapler yielded nine hits, struck out seven and pitched around four errors.
Robbie Podorsky finished 5-for-5 with two RBIs to pace a G&A team that finished with 19 hits. Both Mason Nickens and Speligene were 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Nickens had two doubles. Speligene also had a double. Delaune was 3-for-4 with one RBI, while Austin Bain and Blaine Schexnayder each had two hits for the winners.
Jacob Seward also finished 3-for-5 to lead Peake. Blake Battle was 2-for-4 and Daniel Lahare finished 2-for-5 for Peake.
It is the first state title for Gauthier & Amedee since 2011. Afterward, Morgan reminded his team of loftier goals.
“Winning a state title means a lot to us, especially since we didn’t make it to the tournament last year,” Morgan said. “But it’s by no means our only goal. We’re going to focus on getting ready for Little Rock now.”