PONY 14s begin Texas tourney play
The St. Mary Pony 14-year-old All-Stars begin play Thursday in the Pony South Zone’s Tournament’s Elite Bracket in Burleson, Texas. The team finished runner-up at the 2014 South Zone Baseballl Pony Super Region Tournament. Kneeling, from left, are team members Caleb Bernard, Dylan Landry, Kyle Pitre, Reid Wiley, Kyle Boudreaux and Cade Thibodeaux. Standing, from left, are assistant coach Shawn Bernard, Patrick Robertson, Hayden Pinho, Lukas Carnley, John Pat Dupuy, Joel Singleton and head coach Patrick Wiley. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of Patrice Singleton.)
When the St. Mary PONY 14-year-old All-Stars take the field Thursday, they will do so as at least the last east St. Mary Parish team still playing any kind of youth baseball this summer.
While other teams have concluded their season after district, regional and state tournaments, the PONY 14s will have an opportunity to extend their season at least two more days when they start play in the eight-team PONY 14 South Zone Tournament’s Elite Bracket in Burleson, Texas, Thursday. St. Mary will meet McAllen Team Predators at 10 a.m. at Arabian Field.
St. Mary advanced to the south zone tournament after a runner-up finish at the PONY 14 & Under Super Region Tournament in Youngsville July 20.
While St. Mary fell to undefeated Crowley Nationals twice in run-ruled contests in the tournament, including being no-hit in the championship game, St. Mary run-ruled the other four teams they faced in the super region event.
After defeating Broussard-Youngsville Association in its opener, 11-1 in five innings, St. Mary fell to Crowley 16-0 in five innings.
St. Mary responded with three consecutive run-rule victories against Arnaudville, 12-2 in five innings; Jennings, 11-1 in five innings; and Iowa, 14-3 in five innings, setting up a rematch with Crowley.
St. Mary, who had to defeat Crowley twice to win the super region crown, couldn’t knock off the tournament’s lone undefeated squad, falling 10-0 in six innings in a game in which they were held hitless and fanned 10 times.
Despite the rough ending, St. Mary coach Patrick Wiley said his squad has momentum heading into the south zone tournament, knowing how dominant they were in games outside of Crowley.
“Overall, we played good ball,” he said. “We knew what we (were) up against when we faced Crowley.”
The PONY 14s will begin the next round of action after some time off from games.
Wiley said early last week he was going to give his team two days off to rest before returning to practice the remainder of the week and early this week. He said last week the “rest is well overdue.”
“Our kids will recoup from this, and we’ll come back and we’ll give’em hell in Texas,” he said.
Wiley said that as long as his players can keep hitting, they will be OK at the next round.
St. Mary’s contest Thursday is the first of the tournament, which could continue until as late as Monday if the team emerging from the loser’s bracket defeats the remaining undefeated team in the winner’s bracket in the double-elimination tournament.
The winner of the elite bracket will advance to face the winner of the traditional bracket next week in the PONY 14 Zone Championship game.
That winner will advance to the PONY World Series at Washington, Pennsylvania.