East Ouachita North (Sterlington) raced to a 7-0 first-inning advantage and withstood a valiant Morehouse comeback for a thrilling 14-13 victory Thursday night in Pitching Machine tournament action at Carter Park.
East Ouachita (Swartz) defeated Calhoun 12-2 in the tourney opener.
Friday's schedule has Morehouse paired against Swartz at 6 p.m. and Calhoun vs. West Monroe at 7:30 p.m.
In Thursday's nightcap, Sterlington maxed out for seven runs in the bottom of the first without making an out (tournament rules allow a team only seven runs in an inning).
Mason Owens banged a leadoff triple to right-center and scored as Max Risinger reached on an error. Zack White's double to right-center set up cleanup batter Makiah Smith's two-run single to left. Smith, who continued to third on a misplay in the outfield, crossed home as Broc Hogan was safe on a two-base throwing error.
Ian McGough's RBI single pushed Sterlington's margin to 5-0. Garrett Lee followed with an infield single and Drew Douglas lashed a two-run single to right.
Morehouse came alive for three in its half of the second.
Jacob McKoin poled a leadoff double to left-center. Xavier Harris, Noah Files and Brennen Tackett then reached on consecutive one-out errors, closing the gap to 7-3.
Sterlington picked up one in the second and four in the third to open up a commanding 12-3 bulge.
Colin Cork was safe on a one-out fielding error in the second, took third on Jack Skipper's base hit and came down the line on Owens' sacrifice fly.
White, Smith, Hogan and McGough started the home half of the third with successive singles. With one away, Douglas drilled a two-run single to right field, giving Sterlington what appeared to be a comfortable nine-run cushion.
Morehouse clawed its way back into the game with a seven-spot in the fourth.
McKoin made his way aboard on a one-out error and back-to-back infield singles by Maddox King and Harris loaded the bases. McKoin was safe on a play at the plate on Noah Files' fielder's choice.
Tackett's RBI groundout chased King across, trimming the deficit to 12-5.
Next up, Connor Lively legged out an infield hit and Dylan Downs and Franklin Hyde were both safe via error.
Back to the top of the batting order, Cole Hopkins bashed a two-run double, bringing Morehouse within 12-10.
Skipper singled with one down in the Sterlington fourth, advanced to second on Owens' infield single and scored what proved to be the game-winning run as Risinger grounded into a force play. Morehouse center fielder Jakobe Edmonds then made a running catch on White's line drive to end the inning.
Page 2 of 2 - Morehouse put the go-ahead run aboard in the fifth, but came up a run short.
Lester led off with a base hit up the middle and held at second on Edmonds' infield hit. One out later, King's infield single loaded the bases. Next up, Harris singled home two runs to bring Morehouse within 13-12 and conclude the scoring.
Owens went 2-for-2 with a triple and a single as Sterlington out-hit Morehouse 14-11. Douglas was the big run producer, going 2-for-2 with a double, a single and four RBI. White doubled and singled, Smith, McGough and Skipper contributed two singles and Hogan and Lee added base hits.
Sterlington catcher Jake Dycus started and ended the game with a pair of defensive gems. Ranging to his right, he flagged down a foul popup for the first out of the contest. In the top of the fifth, Dycus threw out a runner at third base for the game-ending out.
Lester, King and Harris stroked two singles apiece for Morehouse, Hopkins and McKoin doubled and Edmonds, Lively and Downs singled.