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THE POST-SIGNAL / Aimee Benoit
Shop Rite Millers’ catcher Kye Cary and pitcher Peyton Thibodeaux discuss strategies Saturday during a game against the Southland Hogs in Houma.

Skid continues for Shop Rite Millers in Louisiana Challenge

The Shop Rite Millers showed glimpses of promise over the weekend, but just couldn’t put it all together in the Louisiana Challenge tournament hosted by American Legion power Gauthier Amadee.
The Millers lost a 2-0 heartbreaker to the host Wombats on Friday and then dropped a pair of contests Saturday to the Southland Hogs (10-4) and the Tupelo 49ers (14-3) to extend their losing streak to seven games.
In the opener, Lake Arthur’s Mason LeJeune threw a gem, allowing just two runs while striking out seven.
Unfortunately, Baton Rouge Community College standout Blaise Foote was just a tad bit better.
Foote fired seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He also struck out seven and didn’t allow a runner past second base in earning the victory.
LeJeune allowed a run in the second inning on a wild pitch after the Wombats loaded the bases with no outs. He avoided any further damage by striking out the next three batters.
A two-out error in the third inning plated another run for the hosts.
Tanner LaGrange, a Rayne High product, logged the Millers’ first hit of the game in the third inning, but he was left stranded.
Jennings’ Luke Benoit collected a leadoff single in the fourth inning, but the Millers couldn’t capitalize after a double play and a flyout ended the frame.
Saturday morning, the Millers looked as if they had finally found their groove when Benoit and Ethan Mack each launched solo home runs in the first inning against Southland.
Mack added an RBI double and Addison Landry singled in a run in the third inning and the Millers had what seemed to be a comfortable 4-1 advantage.
Southland answered, however, with seven runs in the bottom of the frame on four hits, one walk and three Miller errors.
Southland added single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to put the game away.
Peyton Thibodeaux suffered the loss on the mound after allowing eight runs, three earned, in three innings. He walked three and struck out four.
LaGrange surrendered two runs, one earned, in three innings of relief work. He walked two and struck out three.
In the finale, the Millers also used the long ball to take an early lead.
After Mack drew a walk in the bottom of the first inning, Landry came through with a towering two-run home run to left to give the locals an early advantage.
The 49ers answered with four runs in the top of the third thanks to a one-out error.
All for runs were unearned.
The guests broke the game wide open an inning later when they pushed across seven runs on four hits, including a three-run home run, and three walks.
Two more runs crossed the plate for the 49ers in the fifth inning.
The Millers tacked on their final run in the bottom of the fifth when pinch hitter Seth Benoit singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Mack and Luke Benot also had a single each on the afternoon.
Overall, only 14 of the 26 runs given up by the Millers were earned.
The Millers issued 18 walks in the three games and committed 11 errors.
They also didn’t do themselves any favors at the plate by striking out 28 times over the weekend.
The Wombats went on to win their third straight tournament on championship Sunday by knocking off the Gibbs Cardinals, previously known as Pedal Valves, 7-6, in their semifinal matchup. They followed that up with a 10-2 victory over Tupelo in the finals to record their 16th straight victory.
The Millers have a chance to right the ship this week with a full slate on tap.
The locals traveled to Westminster last night to take on the Opelousas Warriors. They will host the Warriors tonight at 7 p.m.
From there, the Millers will entertain Notre Dame Wednesday at 7 p.m. and then close out the week with a road trip to DeRidder on Friday.

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