Manny Miles held Sterlington to three hits and University High capitalized on five errors en route to a 4-1 Class 2A regional baseball playoff victory Wednesday afternoon.
It was a long trip for the Panthers (24-10), who traveled to Baton Rouge for a Tuesday game. As the rain settled in, the Panthers were forced to make an unexpected overnight stay. On Wednesday, the game was tentatively scheduled for University, Dunham and Episcopal, before finally being played at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.
“We weren't expecting to have to stay in a motel, so nobody took a change of clothes and the venue was changed three times, so it was a difficult trip,” Sterlington coach Randy Carr said. “I would like to thank all of our loyal fans for following us.”
U-High (24-10) opened up a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Sterlington picked up its only run in the fourth.
Austin Haman walked and moved to second on Kyle Vandergracht's base hit. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Tyler Buffington chased Haman across with a sacrifice fly.
University added an insurance marker in the sixth.
Three of the Cubs' runs were unearned.
“At this point in the season, when you are playing good teams and start making crucial errors and giving up unearned runs, you are going to get beat,” Carr said. “Good hitting teams are going to put the ball in play. You can't expect Casey (Sutton) to strike out 12 every game. We would make a mistake and make another one right behind it.”
With his father, LSU head football coach Les Miles looking on, Manny Miles (10-0) held the Panthers to three singles — all off the bat of Vandergracht.
Page 2 of 2 - “We hit the ball,” Carr said, “but their shortstop made play after play — backhand, forehand and up the middle.”
Gino Marucci had an RBI double and Miles added an RBI single to lead the Cubs offensively.
Sutton suffered his first loss in 13 decisions.
“Casey did a good job. He got the ground balls. He gave up seven hits, which isn't a lot of hits,” Carr said. “We just made errors at the wrong time.”
All-in-all, Carr couldn't be too disappointed under the circumstances.
“I'm very proud of this team,” Carr said. “Not very many people could have kept it close with what we went through.
“We had a good year and we have a lot of people coming back next year. I'm looking forward to it. It's time to go back to work.”