Millers rally past Seminoles in Legion opener

OPELOUSAS – The Crowley Millers opened their 2010 American Legion season on a winning note Tuesday, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Opelousas Seminoles, 10-2, at Westminster’s Crusader Field.

“It’s always good to get off to a good start,” said Millers’ coach Timmy Robichaux following the contest. “Our pitchers gave us a chance and we able to get something going offensively late in the game.”

Crowley’s pitching staff overpowered the Seminoles for most of the contest after giving up two runs in the second inning. Notre Dame’s Paiton McBride, Church Point’s Tanner Carreon and Crowley High’s Justin Desselle each took to the mound contest and combined to strike out 13 batters while giving up just four hits.

“I was really pleased with the pitching side,” said Robichaux. “Most of our pitchers have a little bit of a layoff from their high school season so I was really impressed with their performance.”

Opelousas scored its only two runs in the second inning when Brannon Hargroder singled and Darrin hardy was hit by a pitch. Brandon Porche followed with a two-run double to left center field but he was left stranded when McBride sat down the next three batters in order to end the inning.

McBride gave up two runs on three hits while striking out four in three innings.

The Millers cut the lead to 2-1 in the third inning when Carreon reached base on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double to left by Blaine Richard.

Carreon took the mound in the fourth inning and worked two scoreless frames, giving up just one hit while striking out four.

Desselle took over for Carreon in the sixth and struck out the side.

The Millers broke the game open in the seventh, scoring eight runs on three hits, three walks and two hit batters.

Eric Speer had a two-run single in the inning that was capped by a three-run home run by McBride.

“I think once we kind of got our timing down, we started putting better swings on the ball,” said Robichaux, whose squad had just three hits heading into the final inning. “You know, good teams make you pay when you make errors and walk people and that’s what we did tonight. Our hitters stepped up at the back end and took the game.”

Robichaux was also pleased with the way his squad responded to a tense moment in the top of the seventh. Following McBride’s home run, Opelousas reliever James Fontenot’s next pitch was a fastball straight to the back of Miller pinch hitter Garrett Welch.

The Millers’ response - Desselle sat the Seminoles down in order in the bottom of the seventh, striking out two while getting a groundout to second to end the game.

“Definitely, I think it was a purpose pitch,” said Robichaux of Fontenot hitting Welch. “He hit our hitter right square in the back after the home run. It’s just so uncalled for at the high school level.

“But I was proud of our team and our pitcher for not retaliating in that situation. We handled it well, the way we should have handled it.”

The Millers will travel back to Crusader Field Saturday to take on the Opelousas Indians at 4 p.m.

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