Cassidy Brady's struck the decisive blow with a two-run home run as Sterlington closed out District 2-2A play with a 3-2 Senior Day victory over Lakeside on Monday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the Lady Panthers (23-1, 9-0) blanked Homer 15-0 in the front end of a varsity-JV-varsity triple header. Sterlington seniors Caitlin Dupree, Alaina Johnson, Nadia Morin and manager Justin Day were honored prior to the Lakeside game.
Both teams struck for single markers in the first inning of the nightcap.
With two down in the top of the first, Madison Winkle roped a single down the left field line and Kim Coleman doubled to left-center. Winkle was trapped in a rundown as center fielder Avery Elkins made a strong throw to Dupree at the plate, but eventually scored on a throwing error.
“We made a couple of mental mistakes that we don't normally make,” Sterlington coach Boyd Cole said, “but overall I thought our kids played well. We wanted to end (district play) with a win. I thought it was more a case of Lakeside playing well than us not playing well. You don't worry about style points at this point in the season. ”
Sterlington wasted no time getting the run back. Gandy scorched a leadoff triple to right-center and Elkins followed with a base hit to right-center, tying the game at 1.
Next up, Dupree lined out to shortstop Coleman, who flipped to first baseman Kali Killian to finish a double play.
“We hit the ball hard,” Cole said. “If Caitlin's ball goes through, we're liable to have a big inning. Lakeside played well defensively today.”
Lakeside manufactured a run in the third to regain the lead. Paige Osborn drew the only walk of the game by either team, moved to second on Jennifer Smart's sacrifice bunt, took third on Winkle's groundout and crossed home on Coleman's opposite-field RBI single to right.
Gandy opened the Sterlington third with an infield hit and advanced into scoring position on Elkins' groundout. One out later, Brady poled a bomb over the left-center fence giving the Lady Panthers a 3-2 lead. It was never a matter of if the ball would leave the yard, but how far it would travel.
Gandy (15-1) worked 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth, before wriggling out of a sixth inning jam.
Base hits by Winkle and Coleman and Ashley Hawkins' sacrifice bunt, placed runners at second and third with only one out. Cheating up to guard against the squeeze, third baseman Brady fielded a ground ball and threw to Johnson at first base for the second out. Moments later, Gandy induced another ground ball, this time to second baseman Alex McMorris, to protect the lead.
Page 2 of 2 - Gandy pitched around Emily Maness' one-out single in the seventh. She struck out three and walked one, while allowing seven hits.
Winkle, meanwhile did not allow a runner past second base over the final three innings. She fanned three, without walking a batter.
Sterlington out-hit the Lady Warriors 11-7. Brady went 3-for-3 with the big home run, Gandy was 2-for-4 with a triple, McMorris singled twice in three trips, Taylor Wilson doubled and Elkins, Amber Knight and Mallory Forbes singled.
Coleman went 3-for-3 with a double for the Lady Warriors, Winkle was 2-for-3 and Alex Harvey and Maness singled.
Sterlington swept the season series from Lakeside (14-12, 6-3), winning three competitive games by margins of 2-0, 6-3 and 3-2.
“(Lakeside coach) Gary (Cooper) told me after the game that he hopes we meet again in Sulphur,” Cole said. “I don't know if I want to meet him in Sulphur or not. Coach Cooper does a good job over there. They had a lot of injuries early and started out 1-7.”
Notes: Sterlington wraps up the regular season Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Winnsboro vs. Franklin Parish. … Playoff pairings will be announced Thursday. … Wilson (8-0) threw a no-hitter as the Lady Panthers bested Homer in the early game. … Brady's home run against Lakeside was her sixth of the season. … Wilson, the team leader with seven round trippers, and Brady both went deep in Thursday's 17-1 victory over Jonesboro-Hodge.