But when it was all said and done, Robichaux wasn’t disappointed.
The Millers’ pitching staff combined for a one-hit shutout and their offense came alive in the latter innings as they cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Notre Dame Pios at Miller Stadium.
“You know, the pitching side was good tonight; it was not what I expected,” said Robichaux after the victory. “I thought we’d walk a lot more people, but pretty much everybody got up there and threw strikes. That’s the biggest thing and that’s what we want from whoever is on the mound.”
The Millers sent seven different pitchers to the mound - Brody Deshotel, Gavin Bourgeois, Quinn Guidry, Andrew Jannise, Paiton McBride, Kyle Smith and Brennan Corzine - using a different hurler each inning.
That stable of arms limited the Pios to just one hit - in the first inning - while walking three and striking out five.
“We wanted to get a look at a bunch of different guys tonight since it was our first time out,” said Robichaux. “And there are some guys that I haven’t really seen pitch in game conditions before so I wanted to make sure I got a chance to look at everybody tonight.”
Offensively, Robichaux’s squad got off to somewhat of a slow start in their first outing using wooden bats. Due to a new American Legion rule in the state of Louisiana, the Millers are forced to use wooden bats in all of their district games in 2012.
Although the season opener wasn’t a league game, Robichaux wanted his team to get used to using the bats.
“We just wanted our guys to get the feel of it tonight,” said Robichaux. “It’s a lot harder as a hitter to square up a ball (using wood) so it’s going to be a little different when we open league play on Thursday. But everybody is using it so everybody is on an equal playing field.”
The new bats weren’t the only thing that gave the Millers trouble, especially early on.
Pio hurler Royce Zaunbrecher kept the Millers off balance the first four innings. He surrendered just two hits and benefitted from two double plays to keep the game scoreless.
Incoming freshman Joe Faulk also made a few highlight reel plays at shortstop for the Pios.
“Royce really did a good job out there in the innings he was on the mound,” said Robichaux of Zaunbrecher, who is also on the Millers’ roster but pitched against his team in the opener. “And Joe made some really good plays. They really had some bright spots on their end.”
Zaunbrecher was lifted after the fourth inning, giving way to Wyatt Sullivan.
Sullivan was not as fortunate as his counterpart.
The Millers tagged Sullivan for six hits in the fifth and sixth innings and scored six runs.
In the fifth inning, with runners at second and third, Corzine hit a high chopper towards second base that plated the first run of the game. Then, with the bases loaded, Smith drilled a liner back to the mound that ricocheted off Sullivan’s leg and careened into the outfield, allowing two more runs to score. The final run of the frame crossed the plate on a throwing error.
The Millers added a pair of runs in the sixth inning.
Connor Goss started the frame with a single to center field but a pair of throwing errors allowed him to race around the bases and score. Then with two outs, Dillan Gilbert singled to left field and scored one batter later on McBride’s double to deep center field.
Corzine closed the game on the mound for the Millers. After a leadoff walk, he got Sullivan to hit into a fielder’s choice for the first out. The game ended one batter later when Goss made a diving grab at shortstop on Faulk’s line drive and then doubled up Sullivan at first base.
“We played well on defense tonight and that’s what we have to have,” said Robichaux, whose Millers committed just one error on the night. “You’re not going to hit everyday. You need timely hits, but mainly you need pitching that’s going to throw strikes and guys on defense that are going to make the routine plays. We got both of that tonight.”
The Millers racked up eight hits on the night. Gilbert led the charge with two hits while Smith, Corzine, McBride, Goss, Bourgeois and Hogan Guidry and each had one.
Zaunbrecher had the only hit for the Pios.
The Pios will travel to Eunice today to take on St. Edmund at 5:30 p.m.
The Millers will also be in action this evening when they open league play at home against the Opelousas Seminoles at 7 o’clock.
“It was good that we were able to get out there and play somebody competitively to get ourselves ready for our first district game Thursday,” said Robichaux.