Dashing home all the way from second base, Taylor Lockwood scored the decisive run on a passed ball as Sterlington subdued previously unbeaten Ouachita Christian 3-2 Tuesday night at Panther Park.
Sterlington grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but the Eagles quickly evened the board in the top of the second.
It remained 2-2 until the fifth. Lockwood singled and stole his way into scoring position. Moments later, Lockwood covered the final 180 feet when a passed ball caromed near the Sterlington (first base) dugout.
Both starting pitchers, Sterlington's Casey Sutton and OCS' Daniel Bristo, were pulled after the fifth inning.
“It was a well-pitched game,” Sterlington coach Randy Carr said. “You had two (future) college pitchers out there.”
Austin Mills worked a scoreless top of the sixth and Ouachita Christian freshman Aaron George twirled a 1-2-3 bottom half of the frame.
Mills hit the Eagles' leadoff batter to start the seventh. Summoned from the bullpen, Austin Haman retired the side four batters later to save the victory.
Sutton (2-0) allowed two runs (one earned), while striking out seven, walking two and giving up five hits.
“I have confidence in Mills and Haman,” Carr said. “Our pitching staff has delivered some great performances for us, even in losses.”
Lockwood accounted for two of the Panthers' three hits with a double, a single and two stolen bases.
Sterlington improved for 7-3, while OCS suffered its first loss in eight starts.
Sterlington will play four games in the Red River Classic, co-hosted by Tioga and Menard. Friday's action, the Panthers take on Avoyelles at 3:30 p.m. and Tioga at 6. Both games will be played at Tioga. On Saturday, the Panthers are matched against Calvary Baptist at Tioga and Menard at Menard.
Sterlington split four games in the Vantage Health Plans/Progressive Bank pool at Panther Park last week.
After doubling Riverside 8-4 on Thursday, the Panthers dropped a 3-2, eight-inning verdict to Loyola on Friday. In Saturday's action, the Panthers bowed to University 21-16 before closing out the tournament with an 11-1 victory over Caldwell Parish.
Carr was disappointed to see Sutton get a no decision after striking out 15, walking one and allowing five hits vs. Loyola.
“We gave them two runs in the first inning,” Carr said. “Basically, we beat ourselves.”
Lockwood poled a two-run home run against U-High.