Millers cruise past Eunice in season opener

EUNICE – The Crowley Post 15 Millers kicked off the 2008 American Legion season in style Tuesday, rolling to an 8-3 road victory over last year’s league champion Eunice at Bobcat Field.

The Millers erased an early two-run deficit in the second inning before outscoring the Oilers 5-0 in the final five innings to secure the victory.

“I think we’ve got the talent; we’ve got everything it takes to be a good team. The main thing is that we have to deal with whatever the game brings us,” said Millers’ coach Tim Robichaux, whose team went down in order in the top of the first before falling behind 2-0 in the bottom of the inning. “Right away, it brought us a little adversity. But we just kind of stayed with it and plugged away.

“I was glad we were able to overcome that because I was a little worried that we didn’t jump out to a good start.”

Those worries were nullified in the top of the second inning when Blaine Richard singled home Kyron Benoit and Brett Broussard drove in two runs on a double to right.

Eunice tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the second when Mitch Fusilier drove in Jacob Fontenot on a two-out double.

However, that was as close as the Oilers would get.

Crowley went on to score single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before adding on three more in the final frame.

“In some of the innings where we did score, we came back and held them (Eunice) the very next inning from scoring,” said Robichaux. “Anytime you can hold your opponent after you score, I think the percentages of winning the game go up to 70 percent.”

Crowley’s defense, as well as its pitching staff was huge in holding the Oilers’ potent offense in check. The Millers turned two double plays to thwart potential big innings and four pitchers (Ryan Leonards, Bryant Gilbert, Jake Trahan and Coy Guidry) combined to give up just seven hits on the evening.

“I was pleased with how well the defense played this early with a bunch of people not being used to playing on the side of each other,” said Robichaux. “I thought we played good defense and pitched well with men on base. We had a lot of innings with first and second and second and third and we got out of innings without getting hurt.”

Eunice got the leadoff man on in the third inning before Stuart Turner grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Brett Baldwin then lined out to second to end the inning.

Then in the fifth, the Oilers had runners at second and third with one out before Crowley’s Jake Trahan struck out Casey Charlie and coaxed Turner into a flyout to the mound to end the threat.

The Oilers threatened again in the sixth when Baldwin walked and Tyler Fontenot singled to start the inning. However, Ethan Mosier’s sacrifice bunt attempt was lined back to Trahan, who then turned and fired to second base, catching Baldwin off the bag to complete the double play.

“We had missed opportunities to score runs and it hurt us,” said Eunice coach Danny Soileaux. “We had two or three opportunities to score runs and we didn’t get it done.”

Crowley also squandered a few opportunities, leaving the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings.

“We had a chance to step on them and put the game away a few times and we just couldn’t execute,” said Robichaux. “We had a few base running mistakes and we just couldn’t get that timely hit when we needed it.”

Crowley had seven players hit safely in the contest, four collecting two hits each.

“Overall, I was pleased with our hitting,” said Robichaux. “We still need to be a little more aggressive. We still had people that were a little passive, taking too many pitches, taking in hitter’s counts. But I do think, one through nine, we will be able to hit throughout the lineup.”

Ryan Leonards went 2-for-3 with two RBI and Kyron Benoit and Blaine Richard each had two hits and two RBI. Mike Doughty also had two hits.

Brett Broussard was 1-for-1 with a two-run double and Coy Guidry and Tyler Keowen each had a single.

The Millers return to action this evening when they travel to Jennings to take on the Jeff Davis Bankers in a 7 o’clock contest.

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