The AAA Minden Nationals traveled to Alexandria over the weekend with hopes of bringing home a state championship and earning a spot in the AAA Dixie World Series.
It took three hard fought games against the Ville Platte all-stars, but the boys got what they came for, hoisting the state championship trophy high on Saturday afternoon.
The AAA Nationals became the fourth team from Minden to win a state championship this summer, capping what has been an unprecedented run for Minden Dixie baseball and softball.
Here’s how the three game series went down.
Minden Nats. 12
Ville Platte 1
It was all Minden in game one of the series, as the Nationals rolled to victory behind the hot hitting of Maddox Mandino.
Mandino finished with a home run and a triple, followed by Cason Clemons who ripped a triple of his own. Brandon Winston, Landry Powell and C.J. Watts all finished with a pair of base hits, while Jake Wilkins, Chase Tolbert and Cooper Chase all added singles.
Cason Clemons got the start on the mound and pitched well, only allowing one run and striking out one batter. Cooper Chase came in to finish off Ville Platte and secure the win.
Ville Platte 5
Minden Nats. 2
In the second game, Ville Platte was able to hold the Minden Nationals to just two runs and even the series at one a piece.
Ethan Latour, Maddox Mandino, C.J. Watts and Chase Tolbert each had a single for the Minden offense.
C.J. Watts and Cooper Chase both pitched well for Minden, despite the loss.
With the series tied at 1-1, Minden and Ville Platte geared up for a decisive game three to decide the champion.
Minden Nats. 9
Ville Platte 3
In the third and final game, the Minden Nationals jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. After tacking on four more runs in the fourth, the lead was comfortable at 9-0.
Ville Platte scored two runs in the fourth and pushed one across in the bottom of the sixth, but there would be no comeback, as C.J. Watts caught a hard hit ball to first for the final out, sending Minden and their fans into a frenzy.
Watts was the hero for Minden at the plate, crushing a pair of home runs and accounting for six of Minden’s runs. Maddox Mandino had a big game as well, adding a triple and single. Chase Tolbert smacked a double, Cason Clemons added a pair of base hits and Jake Wilkins and Dayton Sims finished with a single to round out the offense.
Landry Powell went the distance for Minden, pitching all six innings, allowing just six hits and one earned run while striking out two.
After the game, Minden was presented with the state championship trophy and their Louisiana jerseys and caps they will wear at the World Series in Lexington, South Carolina.
The AAA World Series begins August 7 for those interested in traveling to support our state champions.