Lafayette Little League: PARK NEWS: One Win From Williamsport

Thursday, August 11
One Win From Williamsport

Written by William Foot (Daily Advertiser)

Four down, one to go.

The Lafayette Little League All-Stars have made it look pretty easy thus far in the Little League Southwest Regional Tournament.

After the 12-11 come-from-behind win in the first game of pool play, Lafayette’s bats have simply been on fire, scoring 50 runs in the four games.

At this point, though, Lafayette coach Leland Padgett doesn’t really want to hear anything about the past or what potentially could be the future in Williamsport, Pa.

All of his focus is on the Texas East Pearland All-Stars when the two teams meet at 7 tonight at Marvin Norcross Field in Waco, Texas on ESPN2.

The winner of the game will advance to the Little League World Series. It would be the second-ever trip for Lafayette, which made it in 2005. The first game would be against the Southeast Regional champions at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18 on ESPN.

“No one is allowed to talk about it (Williamsport),” Padgett said. “We’re not even thinking about what could come in the future. This (Pearland) team is good. They have good team power and good pitching, like we do. It’s going to be a good game.”

Padgett said Lafayette will start either ace Haden Erbe or red-hot left-hander Ethan Hines, who has shined on the mound, in the field and at the plate during regional play.
“When we selected him (Hines), I didn’t know about his batting or his pitching,” Padgett said. “I thought he would be able to take his game to another level. He’s a laid-back kid where nothing bothers him. He’s got a baseball mentality.

“We feel like Ethan will give them some headaches.”

Erbe pitched in relief in Tuesday’s win over New Mexico, but only threw 33 pitches and will be available in tonight’s game.

Padgett is expecting to face Pearland ace Nicholas Landrum.

“He’ll throw heat,” he said. “He gets up to 75 at times. He’s a big boy and a really good kid. We’ve had a chance to mingle with them a little bit and they have good kids on their team.”

Whoever the Pearland pitcher is, however, he’s going to be facing a red-hot lineup.
“At the top of the order, we’ve got very strong hitters who can hit it out at any time,” said Austin Primeaux, who had a grand slam in Tuesday’s win and was hitting over .700 for the regional. “It’s the bottom of the lineup that really helps us. Not too many teams have a No. 8 hitter like Michael Guidry who can hit it out as well. It’s crazy.”

Not only is Lafayette hitting the ball from top to bottom, but its also hitting well behind in the count. For instance, Hines doubled in two on an 0-2 pitch in Tuesday’s win and Joe Battaglia’s game-winning, three-run homer was as well.

“We work on 0-2 hitting more than anything else,” Padgett said. “I hate passive hitting on 0-2. It’s in your hands. If you leave it in someone else’s hands, you’re crazy. I’m always talking about being a two-strike hitter.”

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