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Photograph: St. Landry Bank Indians American Legion Team (Photograph by Bobby Ardoin.)

Editor/Consulting Writer

There might not be a staff ace available for the state tournament this weekend, but there could be enough pitching strength remaining to help stack the deck for the St. Landry Bank Indians American Legion rotation.

Indians’ coach Jack Brown thinks his team has sufficient pitching availability to make a deep run in the annual tournament which is being played at East Ascension High School in Gonzales.

The Indians (9-7) have drawn Benton in a first-round game scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday. No matter what occurs in the Benton game, St. Landry Bank will play a second-round contest Saturday at 10 a.m.

Brown said the tournament championship game is set for sometime on Monday.

The Indians, Brown added, have 14 players available for the state tourney. Several of the Indians’ roster players from this summer have opted instead to participate in a travel ball tournament hosted this weekend at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, according to Brown.

Brown however is optimistic about the potential of his pitchers.

Which pitcher throws the opening tournament pitch on Friday is a matter that is still under consideration, said Brown.

Brown plans to select either Luke Vidrine, Owen Ponchieux or Jace Sloan to start the Benton game.   

“For the tournament we won’t have that one guy that you would call a staff ace. Actually I think that’s going to work in our favor. We have a number of arms we can use and who have the ability to throw and get people out. I think over three or five games, we have an advantage because of that,” Brown said.

The Indians Lineup

St. Landry Bank contains an amalgam of players from schools in three parishes.

Probable starters for Friday include catcher John Michael Jarrell, first baseman Ryan LeBlanc, second baseman Dave Wilmoupha, third baseman Eric Heiken, shortstop Cade Robin and outfielders Briggs Ardoin, Ponchieux and Sloan.

Brown said the Indians were mired in a hitting slump during the last part of June, but he was encouraged on Monday night by his team’s offense during a four-inning game against the Lafayette Drillers at Lafayette Christian Academy.

“We scheduled the (Drillers) game in order to get the guys ready for the tournament. I was pleased with the way we hit the ball. We scored our runs the last two innings before we had to end the game because of lightning,” Brown said.

Tournament Competition

The state tournament this year consists of seven teams.

Host Gauthier-Amedee of Gonzales has a first-round bye. 

Other teams in the tourney are Gibbs Construction, Jesuit High-based Retif Oil, the Drillers, the Indians, Benton and dthe Crowley Millers. Crowley defeated the Indians last week for the district championship.

Gibbs Construction which Brown said contains a number of college players and Gauthier Amedee are considered to be the tournament favorites.

Brown is not ready to concede any pre-tournament favorite.

“I think you have to think the New Orleans teams (Retif and Gibbs Construction) are going to be good and then you have Gauthier-Amedee which has also won a number of state championships. I think though that it’s going to be competitive, but the host (Gauthier-Amedee) has a first-round bye,” said Brown.