The Eunice Oilers won a 1-0 thriller on Monday night against District Seven East rival Jeff Davis Bank to advance to the Junior American Legion state tournament that begins Friday in Minden.
After five scoreless innings, Eunice scored the only run of the game when John Ross Johnson singled and scored on a sacrifice RBI from Hayden Pitre.
“Their pitcher hit his spots, kept it down and their defense made plays when we did hit it,” Eunice coach Stefan Frey said of the Jennings pitcher Travis Legros. “But we did what we needed to do to win the game.”
Eunice threatened in the top of the first when Pitre and Brett Darbonne each singled but failed to score.
Josh Patin singled in the bottom of the third and Darbonne was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fourth but again neither crossed home plate.
Jeff Davis Bank put runners on base in the top of the second when Zach Duhon singled and Sam Eastman reached on a fielder’s choice but starting pitcher Darbonne struck out the final two batters to snuff out the threat.
The Jennings team threatened again in the top of the third when Hunter Britt singled and Legros walked but the Eunice stiffened and stopped the scoring opportunity.
Oiler reliever Johnson allowed a walk to Legros in the sixth but struck out seven and allowed no hits to seal the win.
Darbonne struck out six and allowed two hits and two walks over 3.1 innings of work.
Legros had a strong performance but suffered the complete-game loss as he allowed just one run on four hits with four strikeouts and one hitbatsman.
As the top seed from District Seven East, Eunice will take on Covington Post 16 at 12:30 p.m. on Friday in Minden in the state tournament.
“I heard they can really swing the bats,” Frey said of Covington. “But the Mandeville team is beat us in the finals last year, so we are looking forward to meeting them again.”
District runners-up Jeff Davis Bank will open the eight-team tournament against Mandeville at 9:30 a.m.
“I feel we are in the driver’s seat because of our pitching,” Frey said of the five-day tournament. “I don’t know what the other teams have, but I know we have four or five quality arms that can start so I feel good going into the tournament.
“I know these guys are looking forward to playing in the tournament, they are ready.”