Retif Oil Heads to Little Rock to Play in American Legion Mid-South Regional Tournament

Posted August 4, 2014 / Last updated August 6, 2014

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Retif Oil are the 2014 American Legion Louisiana Champions

Retif Oil are the 2014 American Legion Louisiana Champions

NEW! View the Photo Gallery of Retif Oil Shutting Out Refuel and Forcing a 2nd Championship Game 

View the Retif Oil vs. Refuel Ultimate Championship Game Photo Gallery

Retif Oil, the Jesuit-based American Legion team that went from “host” to “state champions,” will definitely have its work cut out when they climb aboard a chartered bus on Wednesday, August 6 to travel to North Little Rock, AR to play in the Legion’s Mid-South Regional Tournament. The winner of this tournament moves on to Shelby, NC to play in the Legion’s World Series.

For locals who want one final look at the American Legion state champions before they head north, show up at 7:15 p.m. Monday at John Ryan Stadium for the start of a practice game Retif is scheduled to play against the Louisiana Outlaws.

American Legion 2014 State Tournament_Glynn Hyer

Glynn Hyer had a superb game to help Retif win the state tournament.

Retif will play the Arkansas Legion champions, the Bryant Blacksox, in the third game of the double elimination tournament that begins Thursday, August 7 at Vince DeSalvo Stadium. Retif brings a 20-9 record to the tournament, not counting recent practice games. The Blacksox sport an enviable 41-4 record and reportedly pack an offensive wallop that has stunned many opponents throughout the summer. Several of the Blacksox’s wins were games that ended in the 7th inning as the Legion’s 10-run rule kicked in. At the Arkansas state tournament, five Bryant starters batted better than .364. In Bryant’s five games at the tournament, the team’s hottest hitter went 11 for 22, scored 12 runs, and batted in 7 runs.

Jack Burk was on the mound for Retif and threw his best game of the season.

Jack Burk pitched a 3-hit shutout against Refuel which helped Retif force a second “championship” game between the two teams.

It will be interesting to see what the Blacksox batters do when facing Retif’s aces on the mound. Coach Joey Latino will be relying on right-handers Glynn Hyer (4-1) and Jack Burk (3-0) to turn in encore performances that will hopefully mirror what each did in Retif’s final two games of the state tournament against highly-rated Refuel (Archbishop Shaw). Those final two games in the state tourney were sweet revenge for Retif, which was bounced from the Legion’s southeast regional tournament earlier in July by none other than Refuel. Invited to be the host team for the state tournament, Retif won its opening two games before suffering its first loss, an 11-2 bruising inflicted by none other than Refuel.

But Retif stayed alive by using that same crazy score, 11-2, to eliminate the Gulf Coast Bank ’29ers (Abbeville). Retif would have to beat Refuel twice in back-to-back games to win state, a most difficult feat for any team. The only ones who knew for sure they could do it were the Retif players themselves. Certainly not the good folks at Kirsch-Rooney who were planning for a short afternoon of baseball. When Retif won the first game, the concession stand temporarily ran out of hot dogs.

Matt Cedro gets a good look at the red stitches in the ball.

Matt Cedro had two singles in the championship game.

With visions of all their previous wins against Retif (and Jesuit during the regular baseball season) floating in their heads, Refuel showed up for that first game only to be shut out, 3-0, behind the pitching of Jack Burk, who allowed only 3 hits while striking out a career-high 14 batters. Retif’s victory forced a winner-take-all championship game. It was Glynn Hyer’s turn to shine on the mound. He gave up 3 hits and struck out 9 Refuel batters.

Going into the 9th inning, Retif held a precarious 3-1 lead. Coach Latino turned to his players. “Let’s get a couple of insurance runs.” Retif responded heartily and scored four runs to take an insurmountable lead, 7-1, with Refuel still to bat in the bottom of the 9th. But it was over quickly, and the Retif players went nuts, piling on each other between the mound and 2B.

In those two games against Refuel, Retif pounded the opposing pitchers for a total of 16 hits: lead off batter and 3B Nick Ray had 2 hits; shortstop Alex Galy had 1 hit (plus several walks); 1B Dan Edmunds had 4 hits, including 3 doubles; catcher Trent Forshag had 2 hits, including a double; 2B Brandon Briuglio had two hits; RF Ben Hess had 1 hit; CF Harrison Daste did not have any hits per se, but he was hit by 7 pitches (in 6 games during the tournament); DH Jake Licciardi had 1 hit, a timely RBI double in the top of the 9th that sealed Refuel’s fate in the final game; and LF Matt Cedro had 3 hits.

It was a terrific, unlikely yet earned, American Legion state championship for the Retif team, their first since 2012, the same year Retif Oil brought home the Legion’s World Series Championship, the first for a Jesuit-based team since 1960.

Can Retif Oil do it again? The odds are long, but Retif’s season has been full of pleasant surprises.

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Arkansas Gazette: Blacksox hammer their way to a title Five things to know about Jesuit-based Retif Oil’s American Legion championship run Jesuit-based Retif Oil beats Shaw-based Refuel to capture American Legion state title

N.O. Advocate: Retif Oil sweeps Refuel for American Legion title Jack Burk silences Refuel bats, helps Jesuit-based Retif Oil force American Legion state tourney-deciding game