SMC 9- and 10-year-old All-Stars to face Franklinton Nationals
St. Mary Central will begin play in the Louisiana AAA Minors South Regional in Metairie today at Wally Pontiff Jr. Playground against the Franklinton Americans. St. Mary Central advanced to the South Regional after defeating Morgan City twice on the final day of the district tournament. Pictured, St. Mary Central’s Tanner Simmons connects on a pitch during district action. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
St. Mary Central 10U All-Stars will begin tournament play today at 7 p.m. against the Franklinton Nationals in the AAA Minor South Regional at Wally Pontiff Jr. Playground in Metairie.
St. Mary, who advanced to the South Regional after knocking off previously undefeated Morgan City twice on the final day of the District 3 Tournament for the district title, has been off from action for almost two weeks, having played in the district championship July 7.
The time between games allowed coach John Menard to give his team some time off, something he said is critical at this time of the season.
“The break was nice because we had played in the invitational a couple weeks before and then the district tournament we ended up playing four days in a row,” he said. “It was five games in four days and some late nights, so to get a little bit of rest or get a little time off, let the guys enjoy themselves a little bit doing some other things besides baseball was nice.”
However, since returning to practice, Menard said his team has responded.
“Every day at practice they’ve been ready to work, been (having a) good attitude, and they’ve been giving great effort,” he said.
Menard is familiar with his team, not just from all-stars, as he said he coached 10 out of the 12 players in travel ball this year.
He said heading into this weekend, his team needs to worry about themselves and what they can control rather than the other team.
“I preach to them it’s a lot of what we do,” he said. “We worry about how we play the game. We kind of don’t focus on who the other team is because we feel if we play to our ability and just worry about what we can control … we feel we’re going to be fine.”
At the South Regional, Menard said his team needs to hit well, something he said they didn’t do until the end of the district tournament.
He said all season long — including travel ball — the team’s pitching and defense have been good, and if they have hit well, they have performed well.
“If we can go up there, and we can hit and stay hot for the tournament, I like our chances,” he said.
Joining St. Mary Central and Franklinton in the South Regional are Ville Platte, Gonzales Americans, Jena, Minden Continental, West Monroe North and DeRidder.
Action will continue through Tuesday with the championship game set for 5:30 p.m.
If both teams in the championship contest have one loss after the championship contest, an if-necessary game will be played Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.