The last two seasons, the Millers have seen their season end in the Sub-Regional tournament, one victory away from earning a berth to the state tournament.
Hopefully, this year will be different when they take part in the 2012 Sub-Regional Tournament at UL-Lafayette’s Tigue Moore Field.
The Millers, who received a bye in the opening round, will take on Acadiana-based Delhomme this morning at 9:30.
Comeaux also received a bye in the six-team tournament field and will play Opelousas, who defeated Abbeville yesterday, 13-3.
“With the six teams that are in there, I think it will be a very competitive tournament,” said Millers’ coach Timmy Robichaux, whose squad has played against three of the teams in the tournament - Opelousas, Comeaux and Acadiana. “We have seen some of these teams already but with the way Legion goes, you never know who has all their personnel when you play them during the season. It might be a little different the second time around when you meet some of these teams again.”
Regardless, the task at hand for the Millers is to win their opening game, which would assure them a spot in the state tournament. With just two regional tournaments in the state, four teams advance from the Lafayette Regional as do the top four from the New Orleans Regional.
“Dropping down to a six-team tournament and getting one of the two byes definitely helps,” said Robichaux of his team’s chances of advancing. “I think it puts us in a good position to start the tournament. We still have to play the game and take care of business, but I think we stand a good chance of moving on.”
For the Millers, everything starts on the mound. Gavin Bourgeois gets the nod in the opener and the southpaw is coming off one of his best outings of the season - a two-hit shutout over Opleousas last week.
“Gavin threw well last week and had another really good game against Acadiana earlier in the summer,” said Robichaux. “And I think we’ll get the same thing from him Sunday.”
Although Bourgeois will get the start, Robichaux hasn’t determined who will be in relief. But his options are plentiful with the bulk of the team having logged innings this summer as well as during their high school seasons.
“Your pitching really comes into play in the postseason because you go to nine-inning games,” said Robichaux, whose team plays seven-inning games during the regular season. “It might not seem like two more innings makes much of a difference but it really does. So, you can never have enough pitching playing those nine-inning games.”
Offensively, the Millers have also been hot as of late after struggling early in the season as they adjusted to using wooden bats for the first time. Against Opelousas last week, the locals banged out eight hits and scored 11 runs in five innings.
In that game, Crowley High catcher Brody Deshotel did most of the damage with a 3-for-3 performance that included two triples and three RBI. Mackay Mouton also had two hits on the night as did Notre Dame’s Brennan Corzine.
“I think we’re used to it (wooden bats) and we’re more comfortable with it now,” said Robichaux. “I look for us to continue to swing the bats well in this tournament.”
Should the Millers win their opening game, they would play again in the winner’s bracket finals Monday at 7:30 p.m. while a loss would send them into an elimination game this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
2012 American Legion Sub-Regional bracket
Below is the schedule for the 2012 American Legion Sub-Regional Baseball Tournament that will be played at UL-Lafayette’s Tigue Moore Stadium.
Game 1 Opelousas 13, Abbeville 3
Game 2 Delhomme 5, Minden 3
Game 3 Crowley vs. Delhomme 9:30 a.m.
Game 4 Comeaux vs. Opelousas 1:30 p.m.
Game 5 Loser 2 vs. Loser 3 4:30 p.m.
Game 6 Abbeville vs. Loser 4 7:30 p.m.
Game 7 Winner 5 vs. Winner 6 4:30 p.m.
Game 8 Winner 3 vs. Winner 4 7:30 p.m.
Game 9 Loser 7 vs. Winner 8 4:30 p.m.
Game 10 Winner 7 vs. Winner 9 7:30 p.m.
Game 11 If Necessary Game 7:30 p.m.