Hosting Post 167 closes state junior Legion tourney with 1-2 record

Tryve Brackin

State American Legion Junior Baseball Tournament host Post 167 B team closed out its play Saturday with a 1-2 record. The locals fell by an 11-1 score Saturday to Lakeside of Shreveport and were eliminated from the tourney field.

Legion Post 167 hosted the state junior (16 and Under) tourney at Plaquemine High. It was the first time the local Legion hosted a state tourney in Plaquemine. Last summer the local Legion group sponsored a Brusly-based Senior A (19 and Under) Legion team and they hosted the older boy state tourney at Pete Goldsby Field in Baton Rouge.

Last week the Iberville Parish Council presented the local Post 167 a proclamation declaring it “American Legion Week” because the local Legion took it upon itself to host the state junior tournament. Former prep coach and school administrator and longtime Legion member Frank Ferachi got together with Legionnaires John “Chief” Barbee and Tommy McCormick and local members to regenerate an interest in local prep-aged baseball in the parish.

The local Legion supported high school-level baseball in the parish for many years, but participation numbers dropped off. Post 167 continued to help support Metro League ball and then backed the Brusly-based summer club last year. This summer the Legion got together and backed Metro as well as junior and Senior A baseball clubs. Post 167 members also have revamped its ball field facilities adjacent to the Legion Hall on Highway 1 for use by youth groups.

The junior state tourney began with a special banquet held Wednesday of last week at the Carl Grant Civic Center on Belleview Road. Former LSU legendary baseball coach and athletic director Skip Bertman was the guest speaker at the event, which included members of all the participating junior tourney teams.

Thursday morning the tourney began at the Joe Distefano Memorial PHS Field.

The weather did not cooperate on opening day as rain delays pushed games back. Late in the evening the 167 club won its opener by a 13-9 score over Minden.

The next evening the hosting 167 B team lost its second round game by a narrow 7-4 count to New Iberia Cajun Sting. The second round defeat put the hosting ball club up against fellow 1-1 losers’ bracket third-round foe Lakeside Saturday. The Plaquemine boys could not generate enough offense to stay alive in the tourney field and were eliminated.

Late Saturday (after article deadline), the semifinals were set with New Iberia Cajun Sting going against the Lake Charles Jaxx in one contest, while the New Iberia Blue Stream was set to tangle with Lakeside. The winners of the two semifinal games were scheduled to play Monday (after deadline) in the championship series.

THIRD ROUND:

The local hosts garnered only a pair of hits from St. John High product Corey David, while Shreveport’s Lakeside got on an offensive roll. Plaquemine High product Jared Purpera, who went six for six in the first two games of the tourney, was held hitless.

Shea Ourso, a St. John JV this spring, was the starting pitcher for the 167 B team in the Saturday loss.

The Shreveport club is considered the top challenger for the state crown, despite a narrow loss in their tourney opener. “Depth-wise they have the ability to bounce back from the losers’ bracket and challenge,” noted Legion program mentor Heath Whittington.

ROUND TWO:

Hosting Post 167 B dropped into the losers’ bracket of the state tourney Friday evening with a narrow 7-4 loss to New Iberia Cajun Sting. The local club was worn down by a late-night game victory that began the night before but did not end until the wee hours of Friday morning.

The local team out hit the visitors by a five to three count, but New Iberia rallied for four runs in the fourth inning to overtake a 3-2 lead by Post 167.

Purpera, who suffered the mound loss, led the 167 offense with a two for two showing at the plate. Meanwhile, David, Landon Landry, and Caleb Campesi collected a hit apiece.

Zane Migues posted the mound victory for New Iberia.

In other second round games New Iberia topped Lake Charles Jaxx by a 6-3 score, while Minden beat CLECO by a narrow 6-5 score and Lakeside of Shreveport routed Hood Chevrolet by a 16-0 count.

OPENING ROUND:

The hosting 167 club jumped out to a good start in the tourney by beating Minden by a 13-9 score. Due to rain delays the game did not end until 1:30 a.m. Friday morning and the locals had to regroup and play later that evening.

Purpera turned in an outstanding performance at the plate, going four for four and driving in five runs. He went two for two in the team’s 7-4 loss to New Iberia to open the tourney with six-straight hits.

David also was an offensive leader for the victorious Legion club, while Derek Savoy posted the mound victory. Savoy held Minden to only three hits. The visitors tallied most of their runs on five Post 167 errors in the field.

Minden took an early 6-2 lead, but the locals rallied back to win with six runs in the fifth and three in the seventh.

In other opening round games New Iberia Blue Stream beat Hood Chevrolet by a 12-2 score, while New Iberia Cajun Sting topped CLECO by a 5-4 score. Lake Charles Jaxx defeated Lakeside by a 5-3 score.