MANDEVILLE – The Spillway Sportsmen baseball team breezed through the first round of Legion playoff action – and then learned they could go no further.
The Sportsmen took a 1-0 lead into a rain delay and returned to mount three runs in the fourth and six in the bottom of the sixth to rout Slidell Post 185 10-0 Tuesday night at Skipper Field.
But the following night, head coach Jason Lemoine received a phone call from the Legion program director when the team arrived in Mandeville, which squashed any hopes of a championship.
The director told Lemoine that a bylaw states that a team can use college players, provided they were on the roster a year before. The only problem: The Spillway Sportsman team only began this year.
The Legion director gave the team an option of playing without the four college players, but the roster only had 12 players.
“That spelled the end for us,” Lemoine said. “It’s terrible.”
The Sportsmen ended their season 6-2 – both losses against Gonzales-based powerhouse Gauthier & Amadee.
Despite the letdown, Lemoine said it would have no effect on the program he and BRCC baseball coach L.J. Dupuy (a longtime Brusly resident and supporter of Legion baseball) worked to resurrect.
“We were happy just to be able to get a team together,” he said. “Considering how late we got things going, I was happy with what we accomplished.”
Lemoine expects the program to continue next year.
In first-round action, winning pitcher Jarrod Jarreau, an incoming junior at Livonia, struck out six and allowed Salmen only four hits in a 70-pitch effort across a full seven innings.
Livonia graduate Ty Gurr’s three-run triple to the back wall broke the game wide open in the bottom of the sixth. He drove home St. John standout Chris Patin, Brusly graduate Blake Manola and BHS standout Connor Manola – all three who reached base on singles.
Gurr (2-4, three RBIs) added to Salmen’s woes when he stole home for a 9-0 lead.
The situation did not improve for Salmen, which stretched its lead by one run off a Corey Free steal to home.
Free, an Erwinville resident who graduated from Catholic-Baton Rouge and now plays for Baton Rouge Community College, finished 3-for-4 with a double and two singles. He also reached base on an outfield error.
“I felt comfortable from my first time at bat,” he said. “It felt almost like their pitcher threw me beach balls.”
The Sportsmen mounted three runs in the fourth inning when Brusly graduate Landon Andre drove home Free, while Chris Patin singled home Andre. Baton Rouge Community College outfielder M.J. Ferguson scored on a steal.
A Free two-bagger in the first drove home J.J. Holmes of BRCC.
Holmes reached base on a walk. A Gurr single led off the inning.
Salmen finished the game with six errors and the Sportsmen committed one.
Cody Cross, a pitcher for Grace King High School, was tagged with the loss.
Two players saw the game as a statement of what they want to make of the return season for Legion baseball.
“We knew this was the first time back, so we had to make the most of it, and so far we’re really enjoying it,” Blake Manola said.
“I think it’s great for us because we’ve played against each other for so long,” Andre said.
“After facing some of these guys your entire life, it’s good to have them on the same team for once,” he said.