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The New Orleans Boosters won their third consecutive AAABA Tournament championship and fifth in the past seven years in a tight game against Johnstown Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors.
The Boosters won 5-1 in front of 2,148 fans who remained at Sargent’s Stadium despite a steady rain in the middle and late innings.
New Orleans won its 18th tournament title overall and matched a feat accomplished by the 1953, 1954 and 1955 teams that last won three in a row for the Louisiana franchise.
New Orleans scored three runs in the eighth inning to break open a one-run contest. A great defensive play in the seventh inning prevented Paul Carpenter from moving in front.
Paul Carpenter (4-2) had advanced to the championship game for the third time since 2016. The Capital Advisors finished as tournament runner-up all three times, including setbacks to New Orleans in 2017 and this year.
New Orleans’ Broussard and pitcher Chris Olivier shared AAABA Tournament MVP honors. The two players also are part of the Delgado Community College baseball team coached by AAABA Hall of Famer Joe Scheuermann. Current franchise rep Tyler Scheuermann also is an aministrator of the nationally known Delgado program.
Olivier pitched seven innings on Saturday, striking out 11 batters in his second win of the week, including a victory on Monday against North Carolina. He had 23 strikeouts and a 1.93 ERA in two tournament appearances.
Broussard batted .524 (11-for-21) and had two doubles, a triple, nine runs scored and 10 RBIs. He also had a 1.000 fielding percentage with 14 putouts and one assist.
New Orleans’ Norris McClure was the tournament RBI champion with 11 driven in. He knocked in a run in the eighth-inning rally to break a three-way tie at 10 for the RBI lead with teammates Broussard and Jacob Singletary.
New Orleans also broke a 70-year-old tournament team record with 35 stolen bases on 42 attempts, a .833 stolen base percentage. The previous mark of 23 stolen bases in a tournament was set in 1952 by the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, franchise.
Columbus’ Noah Sprowls won the tournament batting title with a .538 average (7-for-13).
Philadelphia Bandits (3-1) were awarded the AAABA Tournament Sportsmanship Award.
Paul Carpenter Capital Advisors designated hitter Christian Zilli earned The Tribune-Democrat MVP Award annually honoring a player from one of the two local teams in the tournament.
Zilli had a team-high .500 batting average (8-for-16) with a double and a home run he smacked over the left-field screen in Saturday’s contest. Zilli scored six runs and drove in four.
In the bottom of the first, Cade Pregeant (three hits) and Brady Faust (three hits) each singled and Christian Westcott drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
In the third, Pregeant singled, moved up on a wild pitch and an infield single by Faust before scoring on a 6-4-3 double play ball.
Zilli made it a one-run game by easily clearing the screen in left field in the top of the fourth.
Johnstown starter Rodney Shultz had a strong outing, going seven innings with seven hits allowed, four strikeouts and one walk.
Paul Carpenter nearly took the lead in the seventh. With two on and two outs, Billy Perroz drove a ball to the deepest part of right field. New Orleans’ Logan O’Neill ran down the ball and made an over-the-shoulder catch, saving at least two runs.
The Boosters had four hits in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Garrett Starr and scored three times – once on a McClure single and twice on Tyler Cook’s triple to center field.