NOLA Cardinals set to host Connie Mack south regional qualifiers
An outstanding baseball tournament with a myriad of talented players is set to begin in New Orleans.
The NOLA Cardinals are set to host the 10-team AABC South Connie Mack World Series Qualifier beginning Thursday and running through Sunday at Tulane’s Turchin Stadium.
The winner of the wooden bat tournament advances to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, New Mexico beginning July 28. There are 12 regionals around the country with the 12 winners advancing.
Teams competing are the NOLA Cardinals, along with NOCA, the NOLA Mustangs of Marion Peco, NOLA Scout Micheu squad of Buddy Micheu, the CO Recruits of Castlerock, Colorado, Tigers Beavan of Dallas, Texas, the Texas Raiders of Mansfield, Texas, Marucci Elite of Whitehouse, Texas, Acadiana and UB Badarack of McKinney, Texas.
The NOLA Scout Micheu team features Bryce Wilson from Chalmette and Corey Cousin from Slidell.
NOCA is run by Joey Cabeceiras, who has done an excellent job coaching and teaching the game for years.
The NOLA Cardinals are run by Danny Riehm and Todd Buster, who merged forces to compete in the always competitive Connie Mack national bracket.
The Cardinals (10-4-3) competed all summer with wooden bats against teams using aluminum bats to prepare for the tournament.
“We’ve got guys from Rummel, Jesuit, John Curtis, Lakeshore, just a lot of solid local programs,” Riehm said. “Cass Hargis, the former Holy Cross coach, sent us some excellent players from his St. Thomas More program. We have guys from Hammond. Just a really good mix of kids from across south Louisiana. They’ve come together and are playing well.”
Former Archbishop Rummel hurler Brady Schmidt, who signed Wednesday with Delgado, has pitched 13.2 innings in four games and has a 1-0 record with a 2.51 ERA.
Former Jesuit pitcher Bryce Pitts, who has also signed with Delgado, is 2-0 in three games covering 11 innings with a 3.18 ERA.
Lakeshore High product Dominick Letort, a University of New Orleans signee, has pitched in three games covering 12 innings and has a 1-0 record with a 1.16 ERA.
The top hitters are Peyton Woods (Doyle High and Jones Country Community College), Rhett Centanni (Archbishop Rummel and Central Alabama) and James Bendeck (Jesuit and Nunez Community College).
Woods is hitting .462 with five doubles, two triples and a home run. Centanni has a .366 average with six doubles, three triples and a home run. Bendeck is batting .361 with three doubles and a triple.
“It’s a 19-and-under brand of baseball,” Riehm said. “You couldn’t turn 19 before May 1. It’s a little younger than Legion. Farmington has had the tournament since 1965. They put 7,000-8,000 people in the stands and it is shown nationally.”
The local teams are good programs but there are good programs coming to New Orleans.
“It’s a tough regional,” Riehm said. “Marucci Elite was in the championship game of the Joplin, Missouri regional last week. The Colorado team was in the title game of their state last week. The Acadiana Cajuns just got in. They are really good. It’s big time teams coming here. We think we will be in the mix,” Riehm said. “We’re hoping to punch our ticket to put Louisiana on a grand stage.
Playing at Turchin Stadium is a highlight.
“Jay Uhlman is a great guy, very supportive of our program, always has been,” Riehm said. “He’s got a great relationship with Todd Buster. They’ve been hosting it for the last two years. It’s a beautiful park, on turf. It will be very hot but we will not worry about any rain with the turf. If you go 4-0, you can win it but it’s a bracket that once you get to the third round, it goes to Connie Mack rules for matchups.”
Riehm has previously coached the New Orleans Spice travel ball team on a national level and the Gibbs Construction Cardinals to the American Legion World Series.
“We experienced the American Legion World Series in 2019 in Shelby, North Carolina and it was a great event and I’m told that this one is just as good or even better,” Riehm said. “They do a parade through the town to get it started. It’s a grand stage for amateur baseball and we would like nothing better than to represent Louisiana in it.”
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…