Sterlington has endured some tough outings against a rugged non-conference schedule, but the Lady Panthers are clearly in charge of the District 2-2A race.
Amber Knight's two-run triple spearheaded a six-run first-inning and Sarah Gandy unloaded a two-run home run as the Lady Panthers cruised to a 12-2 victory over Lakeside on Tuesday night.
"We're getting more consistent," Sterlington coach Jack Goode said. "We're showing signs of playing good softball. The talent's there. We just have to be more consistent."
Rolling a seven in the bottom of the first, the Lady Panthers (6-10, 3-0) took control from the outset.
Taylor Wilson singled home Avery Elkins, aboard on a fielder's choice, to put the Lady Panthers ahead to stay.
Sterlington scored five runs with two outs.
Hannah Harrell reached on an error, leaving runners at the corners. Knight then drilled a two-run, opposite-field single to right. Next up, Chelbi Johnson walked and swiped second without a throw, setting up Mallory Forbes' two-run single. Alex McMorris followed with a base hit up the middle and dashed to third on an error, bringing the score to 6-0.
Elkins singled leading off the the second, pilfered second, continued to third on a wayward throw and came down the line on Brady's sacrifice fly to right field, making it 7-0.
Gandy's two-run circuit — a no-doubter over the left field fence — highlighted a five-run third as Sterlington boosted its margin to 12-0.
Lakeside (8-11, 1-2) scored both of its runs in the fourth on Kim Coleman's run-producing single and an RBI groundout by Allie Maness.
Gandy struck out five, walked two and allowed three hits for the win.
Offensively for the Lady Panthers, Gandy homered and singled, Knight tripled and doubled, Wilson singled twice, Brady doubled and Elkins, Johnson, Forbes and McMorris singled. Forbes finished the evening with three RBI, while Elkins stole two bases and scored three times.
Ashley Hawkins, Coleman and Ashley Nunn singled for the Lady Warriors.
Sterlington went 1-2 in the Sulphur Tournament at Frasch Park last weekend, with losses to DeRidder (13-0) and Menard (11-5), sandwiched around a 16-1 victory over Oakdale.
"We've had some games where a couple of bad things happened to us and we shut it down, "Goode said. "When it's a three or four-run ballgame, you can't get down because you still have a chance to win."
Goode was disappointed in the effort against DeRidder as the Lady Panthers managed only two hits, while striking out a dozen times.
"DeRidder has a good pitcher, but we helped her out a lot," said Goode. "We were very undisciplined at the plate."
However, Goode was pleased with the way the Lady Panthers competed against Menard.
Page 2 of 2 - "Menard hit some balls in the gap in the third inning," Goode said, "but we stayed in the game and never quit. I was proud of them for turning it around in just one day."
As the Lady Panthers prepare for the stretch run, Goode says Wilson is going to get more time in the circle. Gandy has carried the bulk of the pitching load, thus far.
"Sarah's gotten a lot more consistent," Goode said. "We're going to start throwing Taylor a little more. The hardest thing about having two pitchers is getting them both enough innings when one of them is working on something. We can't wait until the end of the season to start working on (using both pitchers). We have to try it now."
Sterlington visits West Monroe for a makeup game Thursday at 5 p.m., followed by the junior varsity tilt at 7.