Editor and Contributing Writer
Feature Photograph: St. Landry Bank Indians’ runner slides into second base. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin)
After a first-year head coaching audition with an inexperienced team, St. Landry Bank Indians head coach Jack Brown feels more comfortable about what lies ahead for him and the Opelousas American Legion program in 2022.
Brown and assistant coach Jesse Roy think they now possess the sufficient ingredients to make a possible postseason advancement to the state tournament run starting this month.
The Indians portrayed a playoff contender Tuesday night as they defeated the Lafayette Bulldogs 11-0 in a shortened season-opening contest played at Westminster Christian Academy.
Using a diversified roster with players from seven high school programs and three parishes, the Indians have the improved pitching and hitting Brown thinks the team lacked than last season when he and Roy were in their inaugural season.
“Last year Jesse and I were kind of learning on the fly. We both played for the Indians, but I had one season as an assistant under (Matt Standiford). I think now I am better at knowing how to treat the players,” Brown said.
This year the Indians comprise players from Opelousas Catholic, Teurlings Catholic, St. Edmund, Beau Chene, Port Barre, Sacred Heart-Ville Platte and Westminster.
“We have players from a lot of schools, but we are working on the chemistry among them right now. Our guys are getting to know one another. We’ve had only five practices at this point and (Tuesday night) we didn’t have all of our players. Some of them are on vacation right now,” Brown said.
Brown thinks the Indians have a pitching staff that if needed, can carry the team deep into the playoffs.
“I think we have some real good arms. We have Briggs Ardoin from Sacred Heart, Brett Lorenz of Teurlings, Jace Sloane from Opelousas Catholic and Darren Benoit from St. Edmund,” Brown said.
Robert Roy throws out the first pitch of the season Tuesday nigh
None of those key pitchers threw innings on Tuesday night. The Indians were also without several starters but Brown said he was able to evaluate other players like catcher Erik Heiken of Teurlings.
Indians’ starter Alex Breaux didn’t allow a hit during his three complete innings. Riley Reed pitched the final two innings and struck out two of the final three batters he faced.
Lorenz, who played third base, singled and doubled. Solane, Kohen Stuart and Jay Lavergne also had hits.
Sloane executed a diving catch in right field during the fourth inning after the Indians turned a double player that involved an infield double play.
The Indians are at Westminster against the Lafayette Braves June 7 and the following night against the Lafayette Drillers in a game scheduled at Lafayette Christian Academy.