St. Mary Central 10s head to Pontchatoula on Friday

By GEOFFREY STOUTE

Before and after every practice, St. Mary Central’s 10-year-old coaches preach to their team the importance of being mentally prepared.

When the team is prepared, good things have happened — like a four-game winning streak during the latter part of the District 3, 10-year-old Tournament.

While he said he wasn’t taking any credit away from Patterson, St. Mary Central head coach Mike Delatte said when the squad wasn’t prepared mentally in its district opener against Patterson, it lost, 5-2.

The loss put St. Mary on the cusp of elimination and forced it to keep winning to keep its postseason hopes alive.

Four consecutive wins lat-er, the squad hoisted the district championship trophy and now are preparing for the next round of competition, this weekend’s AAA Minors (9- and 10-year-old) South Regional Tournament in Ponchatoula.

St. Mary will open tournament play against Morehouse Friday at 3 p.m. The eight-team double elimination tournament will continue through Tuesday when a champion will be crowned.

“We’ve had a great week of practice,” Delatte said. “The boys are certainly excited and ready to play. We’ve worked hard all week, and certainly we feel like we’re ready to be there.”

While the competition will be tougher than what the squad played at the district tournament in Thibodaux earlier this month, Delatte said it comes back to being mentally tough.

“We tell our boys every day we’re going to make physical errors,” Delatte said. “The team that makes the least amount of errors and who can overcome the physical errors mentally will be the most successful at the end of the tournament.”

That top spot is what De-latte’s team is shooting for.

“Our goal is certainly not met,” he said. “Our goal is to go and win the regional in Ponchatoula this weekend. We want to go there, we want to compete and we certainly want to win.”

The winner of the South Regional Tournament meets the victor of the North Regional Tournament — where District 3 runner-up Thibodaux will play — in a best, two-out-of-three matchup, beginning July 27 in Alexandria.

The winner of the three-game series will advance to the Dixie Youth World Series, beginning Aug. 4, in Bartow, Fla.

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