LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Mired in a slugfest for the first three innings, Gauthier & Amedee’s pitching combination of Austin Bain and Devin Spellgene came up aces on a muggy night in central Arkansas.
After Midwest City, Okla., struck for five runs in the first three innings of Friday’s American Legion Mid-South Regional Tournament, Bain and Spellgene put the clamps on the Oklahoma state champions, giving up only one unearned run in the final six innings of an 11-6 semifinal victory at Vince Desalvo Stadium.
Midwest City scored four runs in the top of the third inning to take a 5-3 lead, but G&A countered with five runs in bottom half of the inning. Collin Delaune’s two-out, bases-clearing double gave the Louisiana champions the lead for good.
“I thought (Bain and Spellgene) did a great job,” G&A coach Justin Morgan said. “In the third inning we had some rough luck. They put the ball in some areas where we couldn’t get to them.
“When you play (Midwest City), they play the game the right way, and they put pressure on you. But we did a good job of getting their lead-off batters out, and we took them out of some things they normally do.”
G&A (45-3) will play Tupelo, Miss., at 9 p.m. Saturday in a winners bracket game. Midwest City (57-8) will play Texarkana, Ark., in an elimination game.
Madison Nickens belted a home run and collected a double in G&A’s 11-hit attack. Blaine Schexnayder singled three times in four official trips to the plate. Delaune scored three times.
Bain made it through five innings, allowing seven hits while striking out six, walking one and hitting a batter. Spellgene picked up the save, giving up two hits while striking out three and walking no one.
Midwest City used six pitchers in an attempt to quiet G&A’s bats.
G&A entered the third inning with a 3-1 advantage, but Midwest City’s batters came up with four hits in the inning, including three in a row.
Lane Paul’s two-run single gave Midwest City a 4-3 lead and Corey Zangari followed with a triple to the right-center field gap.
G&A answered with a five-run inning that included three hits, three walks and an error. The biggest blow to Midwest City came when Delaune laced a 3-2 pitch from losing pitcher Cameron Nomore down the left-field line that easily scored all three G&A baserunners.
After regaining the lead, Bain used only seven pitches in the fourth inning to retire Midwest City, setting the tone for the remainder of the contest.
“Defensively and pitching-wise, I thought we played a great ballgame,” Morgan said. “We mixed in strikes and kept them off balanced. They put it in play where we were at tonight.”