Lafayette Little League: PARK NEWS: Little Leaguers off to good start

Monday, July 25
Little Leaguers off to good start

Had the final result gone the other way, Lafayette Little League All-Star coach Leland Padgett knows he'd be singing a different tune.

As it stands, he's just fine with the format.

The pairings for the 2011 U12 Little League State Tournament was done by random months ago before baseball season even began. As it turned out, those out-of-the-hat pairings matched up the two tournament favorites in Lafayette and South Lake Charles in the first round.

Lafayette withstood a late South Lake Charles rally for a 7-5 win.

Lafayette is now scheduled to meet fellow undefeated Bossier City at 6 tonight at Broadmoor Park with the winner to advance to the finals slated for 6 p.m. Thursday.

"It worked out fine because we won," Padgett laughed. "In the end, that was a game that could have gone either way.

"Both teams probably would have saved their No. 1 pitchers for that game anyway, so I wasn't that upset that we had to play them first."

That ace for Lafayette is Hayden Erbe, who allowed two runs in 4.2 innings and reached his pitch limit. Tyler Miller got the save in the win and also blasted a two-run home run. Ethan Hines also had a key three-run homer.

"In Little League, it's all about pitching and hitting," Padgett said. "You have to be able to do those things. Speed helps, but the rules pretty much take speed out of the equation. You have to pick your team with that in mind."

In addition to Erbe and Miller, Lafayette sports such capable arms as Ethan Hines, Nate Cox, Hunter Bergeron and Joe Battaglia.

"We've got an ace and then the other four pitchers are all about the same," Padgett said. "We don't have a Jace Conrad throwing 71-72, but we have a good array of pitchers. We have the depth we need.

"We also have guys who can hit. That Miller kid can play anywhere on the field. He hits line drive home runs. There's nothing he can't do. He's not as big as Jace was, but he's that kind of a kid."

The winner of this week's state tournament will advance to the eight-team Southwest Regional Tournament in Waco, Texas, beginning on Aug. 5. That winner would make the World Series.

Adding power to Lafayette's offensive arsenal have been utility man Michael Guidry and Austin Primeaux at first base. Guidry hit a pair of homers in the 23-4 win over Marksville.

"We have kids who can hit the long ball, but I don't want to just rely on the long ball," Padgett said. "You've got to be able to get those timely hits as well and take advantage of all the things baseball offers you."

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