THE POST-SIGNAL / Jason Faul
The Shop Rite Millers will begin play in the American Legion State Tournament this afternoon with a pair of games at 4 and 7 p.m. at Westminster Christian Academy in Opelousas. Members of the team include, kneeling from left, Kye Cary, Addison Landry, Ethan Menard, Ethan Mack, Julian Harvey, Tucker Babineaux; standing, coach Chris Quebedeaux, Tristan Doucet, Luke Benoit, Mason LeJeune, Peyton Thibodeaux, Seth Benoit, Tanner LaGrange, Landon Broussard and coach Josh LaGrange.
Shop Rite Millers begin play in state tourney
The Shop Rite Millers have endured a topsy-turvy summer, winning just three contests along the way.
To the Millers’ credit, however, they have played some of the state’s elite during their 12-game stretch, losing to the likes of American Legion powerhouses Gauthier Amadee, the Houma-based Southland Hogs and the Opelousas Indians as well as Mississippi’s Tupelo 49ers.
In those losses, the Millers just haven’t been able to put it all together according to head coach Chris Quebedeaux.
“The long layoff from high school ball to our first practice hurt us,” said Quebedeaux, who guided the Millers to their best showing in the state tournament last season where they finished fourth.
The high school season was halted in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Most of our guys really hadn’t done anything from early March until our first practice on June 2 and then we played our first game not ever a week later,” said Quebedeaux. “We have a very talented roster, we just haven’t been able to put everything together and it’s been discouraging.”
Quebedeaux is hoping that his squad can turn the corner quickly as they hope to play the spoiler role in the American Legion State Tournament that begins today.
The opening game of the three-team pod at Westminster Christian Academy pits the Gibbs-Coleman Cardinals against the host Opelousas Indians at 1 p.m.
The Millers will take on the Cardinals at 4 p.m. and then face off with the Indians in the nightcap at 7.
“It’s a tough draw being thrown in the pod with those two teams, arguably two of the top three squads in the state,” said Quebedeaux. “Obviously the goal is to win but we just want to be competitive.
“I’m sure we are being overlooked by both teams, but if we can put it all together, I feel that we have a shot.”
The Millers spit with the Indians in their district series, beating their rivals 10-9 in extra innings on July 11 before dropping a 12-3 decision to them at home on June 15.
The Millers and the Indians squared off again on July 1 in a non-district matchup and the locals fell, 7-1.
The Millers offensive leaders are first baseman Addision Landry and second baseman Ethan Mack.
Landry, a Lake Arthur product, is hitting for a .448 clip (13-for-29) with a team-high 13 RBI. He has doubled five times and has one home run.
Mack, a junior from Jennings, is hitting .370 (10-for-27) with four doubles, a triple and one home run. He has driven in nine runs and has drawn 12 walks.
Rayne’s Tucker Babineaux is hitting .318 with a double and a triple.
Mason LeJeune is expected to start on the mound for the Millers in their opening game. He is coming off a stellar performance against Gauthier-Amadee in a 2-0 loss in which he struck out seven and allowed zero earned runs.
Peyton Thibodeaux will get the start against the Indians.
Ethan Menard, Julian Harvey and Tucker Babineaux will also likely see action on the mound in relief.
The first round of the American Legion State Tournament will be played at five different sites with three teams in each pod.
Host sites include Westminster Christian, St. Charles Catholic, Jhn Ryan Stadium in New Orleans, Lutcher High School and Riverside High School.
Any teams that go 2-0 in pod play will advance to Saturday’s eight-team quarterfinal round. The remaining spots will be filled with teams that went 1-1 in pool play, considering the following tiebreakers:
1. Runs allowed
2. Run differential
3. Runs scored
The quarterfinals will be held at Lutcher High School and Kirsch Rooney Stadium in New Orleans. Each site will host a game at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. These games will be single elimination with the winners advancing to the semifinal round on Sunday.
The semifinals will be played at Lutcher as well as the championship game, which is slated for 6:30 p.m. Sunday.