In the Rain-Plagued American Legion Tournament, the Boys from “Lose E-Anna” Are in Survival Mode

Posted August 10, 2014 / Last updated August 12, 2014

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Mason Mayfield survived a few rocky innings that had Coach Latino wondering if he should send in the relief crew. He was given assurances by Mayfield himself who eventually found his groove against the Mississippi team from Tupelo on Saturday, August 9.

View the Retif Oil – Tupelo, MS Photo Gallery (Saturday, August 9, 2014)

View the Retif Oil – Kansas Photo Gallery (Friday, August 8, 2014)

Ping, ding, dang go the aluminum sound of bats wielded by those boys from “Lose-E-Anna,” as the good folks from “Aw-kin-Sauce” are prone to say about Jesuit-based Retif Oil at the American Legion’s Mid-South Tournament in Little Rock.

After a dismal opening performance that banished them to the “Loser’s” bracket, the champions from Louisiana won their next two games, capturing the attention of the teams still in the hunt. The double elimination tournament started with eight teams. As of Saturday, August 9, the teams from four states are alive: Retif from Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas. (The four teams that have gone home after two losses are Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and the tournament’s host team from North Little Rock.)

Of the four teams still playing, three are on life support, including Retif. The fourth team, Bryant Blacksox (the Arkansas champions), is still unbeaten.

The schedule on Sunday, August 10, looks like this: Retif plays Tennessee at 2 p.m. and Missouri takes on Arkansas at 6 p.m.

The second and third days of the tournament have been plagued by thunderstorms which have delayed play and also forced a change in venue. Rain is in the forecast for Sunday.

After losing to Arkansas, 9-1, on the first day of the tourney, the Retif players have done just what Coach Joey Latino said they needed to do: flush away the game, put it behind them.

Retif came back on Friday and beat a tough Kansas team, 8-6. Glynn Hyer picked up the win to improve his season record to 5-2. He relieved starter Sean Bretz after the 1st inning and pitched the next 6.2 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 earned runs, and 2 walks. Hyer struck out 5 Kansas batters. With two out in the top of the 8th and Retif leading, 8-5, Hyer came out and Christian Latino took the mound. Latino allowed two hits and one run scored to make it an 8-6 ball game. Latino got the job done and Kansas skipped back home.

Against Kansas, the Retif bats – silent as butterflies in the Arkansas game – came out of their cocoons. Nick Ray slapped a double for 2 ribbies in the 3rd inning and Ben Hess did the same in the 7th. A quartet contributed singles: Trent Forshag, Scott Crabtree, Brandon Briuglio, and Matt Cedro.

After rain adjusted the starting times of Saturday’s games, Retif faced Mississippi, which had played Tennessee the night before. The boys from Tupelo were coasting into the bottom of the 9th with a comfortable 6-0 lead until the baseball gods decided to mess around. Tennessee scored 7 runs in the final inning and Mississippi notched their first loss.

Coach Latino sent Mason Mayfield to the mound and the kid had all the right stuff. He pitched the entire game, picking up his 5th win against 3 losses for the summer season. Mayfield allowed 6 scattered hits and walked 2 batters. He struck out 8.

Once again, Nick Ray had a good day at the plate with 2 singles and 2 ribbies. Dan Edmund added three hits, including a double. Trent Forshag and Brandon Briuglio each had 2 singles. Matt Cedro hit a double and Ben Hess singled. The final score: 7-1. Mississippi out.

When Retif takes the field against Tennessee on Sunday, Coach Latino may have to send “Johnny Wholestaff” to the mound.

“You know, Johnny,” says Latino with a grin. “We’re going to talk to our pitchers and gauge where they are. We’ve got tender arms, but I don’t think anybody’s sore or in a position where they can’t throw… This is the part of the tournament where you go to Johnny Wholestaff. Three innings from this guy, four innings from this guy. Look, we’re in survival mode. Those kids are going to do everything you ask them to do.”

Read More… Retif Oil downs Tupelo (Miss.) 7-1 to remain alive in American Legion Mid-South Regional