Retif Goes 2-2 in Regional, Falls Twice to Pedal Valves
The Retif Oil baseball team had something to prove in the Southeast Louisiana Regional tournament, the second step on the ladder of the American Legion Baseball postseason. De La Salle-based Best Chevrolet (BC) had left the Jesuit-based team in a sour state last weekend, not only by beating them for the first time all season but also by knocking them out of the city tournament.
Game 1: Saturday, July 8
LOSS – Retif (0) vs. Pedal Valves (3)
In Game 1 against Pedal Valves (PV), Coach Joey Latino called on pitcher Christian Hess to start the game. This was the first time these two teams have met all season, so both pitchers brought their best stuff early. Due to good pitching, the first three innings were very quiet at the plate for both teams (0-0). Hess allowed one hit and one run in the fourth (1-0). In the fifth inning, PV took advantage of the momentum at the plate by getting two hits and two runs (3-0).
At the plate for the Oilers, it was a decent outing. Four hits each for both teams goes to show that PV simply capitalized in the two innings that they got runners on base. The defense was impeccable, as there were no errors by either team. Hess pitched five innings, capturing 4 strikeouts and allowing 4 hits. Zach DeBlieux relieved Hess, giving up no runs in the final two innings.
Game 2: Sunday, July 9
WIN – Retif (7) vs. GIS Engineering (2)
The Southeast Regional was supposed to be a 9-inning tournament, but due to rain, most of the games were shortened to seven. With clear skies on Sunday, this one between Retif and GIS would last all nine innings.
Both teams had the hot bat, with Retif racking up nine total hits. Seven of those base-knocks would come in their last two innings. The biggest number of the game, though, was 16. GIS has 16 runners left on base in their 13 hits. In another error-free game, the Oilers made the plays they needed to make in order to help pitcher Will Hellmers get out of each inning scott-free. That’s right. Hellmers pitched seven scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts. The seven innings of perfect defense got the team fired up to hit the ball. Center fielder Michael Torry finished the game with three hits, while Matt Alexander and Zack Cassebonne added two.
Even though they lost the hitting battle, playing well both offensively and defensively allowed Retif to cruise past GIS with a 5-run victory.
Game 3: Tuesday, July 11
WIN – Retif (8) vs. Best Chevrolet (3)
Retif had experience beating this team. They’ve beaten BC once by one run, twice by a 2-run margin, once by a 5-run margin, and once by a 10-run rule.
The third inning was the separating factor this time around. First at bat was Parker Serio. He singled and advanced to second on an error. Then, Sean Seghers and Michael Torry hit back-to-back singles. Serio scored the first Oiler run off Torry’s RBI. Matt Alexander put the bat on the ball and grounded out, sending Seghers home and getting the RBI. Will Hellmers singled, stole second and third, and advanced home on a wild pitch. After Kaden Knecht was walked, Colin Miller turned on one, securing an RBI double. Retif mustered five team hits in just this inning, and then the team used this hitting momentum in the next two innings.
In the fifth, Knecht and Seth Dardar hit singles. Brian Valigosky added a single in this inning, and Seghers added 2 RBIs by hitting into a fielder’s choice. Seghers’ at-bat scored Dardar and Collin Miller, who walked.
In the sixth inning, Miller came in as reliever for lefty Lee Blosser and allowed two runs. Blosser earned the win, allowing one run in 5 innings.
Game 4: Wednesday, July 12
LOSS – Retif (0) vs. Pedal Valves (1)
On to the semifinals at John Ryan Stadium. Christian Hess got the nod again to throw against Pedal Valves. He entered the game with an ERA of 1.12.
The all-star defenses showed up, again. The pitching was stellar from both teams. Slow to get the bat going was Pedal Valves, but they eventually produced a number of hits. The Oilers’ bat, on the other hand, never arrived. The first at-bat for PV was a double that scored no runs, and no more hits followed until later in the game. Retif’s Collin Miller got one early hit in what would be another scoreless first three innings between these teams.
Three more scoreless innings would follow. Shortstop Seth Dardar and second baseman Matt Alexander proved to be the dynamic duo of the infield, turning double plays and snagging balls all over the field. The 6-4-3 double play, which got the Oilers back to the dugout in the sixth inning, could not have been possible without the combo of stretching and catching from first baseman Marc Dougherty. On to the infamous seventh inning.
Catcher Parker Serio hit a single to get the team’s second hit of the game. Serio stole second base, but he was left stranded. To start the bottom of the inning, Pedal Valves fired two hard-hit balls past third baseman Will Hellmers. A wild pitch by Hess advanced the runners to second and third, and a walk loaded the bases. An RBI single up the middle of the infield would score the game-winning run. The game would end in a walk-off. Hess allowed one run in his complete game while recording four strikeouts and just one walk. How similar this loss with Hess on the mound is to the Ponstein’s game last weekend. The walk-off RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning ended the game 1-0.
At the plate Retif struck out 15 times, five looking and 10 swinging. “Christian Hess deserved better,’’ head coach Joey Latino told the New Orleans Advocate. “This is his third straight outing where we don’t score a run for the kid. Until we figure out what to do offensively to score some runs, nothing is going to change.”
In the regional tournament as a whole, their cumulative score against their opponents was 15-9. Defensively, they started every game with consecutive scoreless innings. They played the entire tournament free of errors. These internal victories should usually lead this young and improving squad to the regional title game. Unfortunately, cumulative score doesn’t apply in baseball tournaments. Avoiding errors is a comforting statistic, but not one that guarantees wins.
Pedal Valves and Gauthier Amedee (East Ascension) advance to the state tournament as the Southeast Louisiana Regional finalists. While they do not advance to the state tournament, Retif Oil will serve as the host team in the Mid-South Regional tournament scheduled for Aug. 2-6 at Kirsch-Rooney.
The mid-south tournament bracket can be viewed by clicking this link: Region 4 Pairing