Lafayette Little League: PARK NEWS: Lafayette Storms to Regional Game

Wednesday, August 10
Lafayette Storms to Regional Game

Sometimes, it's been early and sometimes it's been late.

 

But no opponent's pitching staff has been able to go six innings without feeling the wrath of the Lafayette Little League All-Stars' powerful lineup.

 

In Tuesday's Southwest Regional semifinal against Albuquerque, N.M., it began with three runs in in the third inning and never really stopped.

 

Joe Battaglia crushed a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fourth inning and Lafayette cruised to a 14-6 victory over Albuquerque in the nationally televised game on ESPN2.

With the win, Lafayette advances to Thursday's 7 p.m. championship game against Pearland, Texas, which defeated Boulder, Colo., 5-4.

 

The winner of that game will advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. World Series play would begin against the Southeast Regional champions at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 on ESPN.

 

Lafayette's lineup has now scored 50 runs in four games in Southwest Regional play.

"I just tried to stay positive," Battaglia said of his game-winning homer. "I put a little cross on the plate and that gives me some confidence. He threw me two curve balls because I was batting in the four-hole. Austin (Primeaux) and I are good at staying back. He threw another one and I pulled it and it went out.

 

"It's so amazing to see the ball off the bat and it going out."

The other big blow came in the fifth inning when Austin Primeaux put the game away for good with a grand slam for the 12-6 lead.

 

Ironically, Battaglia's homer was his one at-bat in the game and he was hitting for Primeaux in the lineup.

 

"He had three balls and then came in with a strike, so I was sitting in kind of a good count," Primeaux said. "He threw me a pitch that was real pretty. I just try to hit it where the ball is pitched."

 

Before the big home runs, Michael Guidry got Lafayette's offense going with an RBI single to cut the lead to 2-1 in the second, before Ethan Hines delivered a two-run double on an 0-2 pitch in the third. Hines finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs after smashing a grand slam in Monday's win over Pearland, Texas.

 

The other offensive star in Tuesday's win was Nick Fruge at 3-for-4 with an RBI.

New Mexico attempted a comeback in the fourth when Caesar Garcia hit a three-run homer for a 6-4 lead, but Lafayette's four-run fourth erased that lead for good.

 

Once Lafayette got the lead, Padgett brought in ace pitcher Haden Erbe to throw 1.2 innings shutout innings and prevent any Albuquerque comeback ideas.


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