Cajuns eliminate Millers from Regional
LAFAYETTE – After the first day of the 2010 American Legion Southwest Regional Tournament, the Crowley Millers looked unstoppable, scoring 23 runs on 24 hits in back-to-back run-rule victories.
And then the wheels fell off.
The locals scored just eight runs in the next three games, including Wednesday’s 6-4 semifinal loss to the New Iberia Cajuns that eliminated the Millers and ended their season.
“We just couldn’t get going,” said Miller’s coach Timmy Robichaux following the defeat. “We came into the tournament strong and then we just bottomed out. We just didn’t play with any emotion after the first day, as if we didn’t really want to move on.”
Facing elimination in a game against a New Iberia team with a depleted pitching staff, the Millers did manage to bang out eight hits. But they were scattered for the most part.
“We just really never could get on track and string something together this game,” said Robichaux.
New Iberia, a squad the Millers defeated 12-2 in five innings Saturday, was able to get on the board early, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Christian Landry singled to start the frame, but he was thrown out at second base on what appeared to be a tailor-made double play off the bat of Derrick Huval. However, an errant throw to first base allowed Huval to reach second base before Miguel Savoy struck out but reached base on a passed ball. A fielder’s choice by Bryce Sibille one batter later produced the Cajuns first run.
The Millers’ answered in the bottom of the frame when Paiton McBride singled and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1.
New Iberia regained the lead in the fourth inning when Huval doubled and scored on a passed ball, one pitch before Zane Migues grounded out to mound to end the inning.
Again, Crowley responded.
Connor Goss led off the bottom of the frame with a single to center field and Austin Robichaux bunted for a hit to get the locals going. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by McBride before Goss scored on a groundout to second base by Eric Speer. A fielding error at third base on a sharp grounder by Justin Desselle allowed Robichaux to score, giving the Millers a 3-2 advantage.
The Millers held the lead until the sixth inning.
Back-to-back walks and a bunt single loaded the bases for Cajuns in the sixth before a third walk with no outs tied the game at 3-3.
Thomas Theriot then singled off Desselle to right field to drive in two more runs before Jake Trahan took the mound. The Cajuns added another run on a sacrifice fly before the Millers were able to get out of the inning.
Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, the Millers mounted a rally.
Eric Speer, who reached base on an infield hit, scored on a single to right field by Blaine Richard.
But the Millers failed to capitalize after that despite having the bases loaded with just one out and their three and four-hole hitters coming to the plate.
Ryan Leonards accounted for the second out of the inning when he was called out on a curve ball in the dirt for the third strike. The potential scoring threat ended when Goss drove a ball to the right center field gap that was chased down by Sibille.
The Millers looked poised to make a run in the final frame as well when Robichaux singled to left field and McBride walked to start the frame. Speer’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners over to second and third base but back-to-back strikeouts ended the game and the season for the Millers.
“We had our chances in this game,” said Robichaux. “We pitched well early on. Our hitters just never could get back on track.”
In all, the Millers stranded 11 runners, leaving six in scoring position.
“Early on, we had maybe only four hits midway through the game,” said Robichaux. “You just can’t beat people that way. You have to finish the tournament with the same intensity you had to start the tournament.
“You know, this tournament is kind of a grind, and we got lucky because they moved it back to seven inning games instead of nine inning games. It’s a grind, but it comes down to mental toughness and you have to be tough enough to play hard all the way through it. We just didn’t put anything together the last few games.”