In only its fourth season after it was established, the Pedal Valves Cardinals captured the attention and imagination of baseball fans statewide.
The Destrehan-based American Legion team (Destrehan, LA Post 366), which brings players from several schools in the New Orleans metro area together for summer competition, rode a dominant way of play to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina, where the team won its first three games before bowing out in the national semifinal round. The team has been sponsored by Pedal Valves in Luling since its inception and plays under the name.
The roster includes Joey Saucier of Hahnville; Joshua MacCord, T.J. Thomas, Dustin Weber, Dylan Weber and Avery Schexnaydre of Destrehan; Nick Lorio of St. Charles Catholic; Coedy Fonseca, Grant Goodbee, Gavin Freeman and Stephen Kline of De La Salle; Patrick Boudreaux of Riverside; Kolby Bourgeois of Lutcher; Cory Cook of De La Salle; Ron Franklin and Stephen Powers of Rummel and Kolby McWilliams of St. Martin’s.
The Cardinals (38-9) were eliminated by Fargo, N.D. Post 2 (54-7), 10-4, on Monday night. It was a tough break for the team in many ways, as it was Pedal Valves’ first loss in the World Series; the semifinal round and onward are single elimination, while earlier fare is double elimination, Fargo surviving an opening game loss before winning three straight.
Fargo posted two runs in the second inning but was answered by Pedal Valves in the third after Cook singled to score Thomas and Freeman, tying the game. Thomas scored two runs on the day.
But Fargo continued an offensive onslaught, scoring four runs in the top of the fourth to take command of the game. It scored two more in the fifth then three in the sixth, putting the game largely out of reach.
The loss ended the Cardinals’ quest to bring a national championship back to Louisiana – it would have been the state’s first since Jesuit-based Retif Oil did it in 2012 —but it did nothing to erase a summer of excellent — and at times downright dominating — play.
Pedal Valves won the Second District East division championship, then surged through the Legion state tournament and then the Southeast Regional tournament in Tampa, Fla. to earn both championships—and a spot in the World Series. Pedal Valves has earned the Louisiana state championship three times in the team’s four years of completion thus far.
Once there, the Cardinals made themselves at home in Shelby. They outscored opponents 35-8 to leap out to three wins and earning their pool (division) championship and a spot in the semifinals.
Before getting to the semifinal round, Pedal Valves rallied from two early three-run deficits to blast off for 13 runs in its last three inning at bat, leading to a 14-6 win over Albequerque, N.M. Post 2 on Saturday night to finish pool play. Thomas had three hits in the game to lead the way. Bourgeois highlighted the effort as well with a three-run home run. The win allowed the team a day of rest, after officially clinching its spot in the semifinal round with a dominant 9-1 win over Festus, Mo. Post 253 a day earlier.