Mangham 3, Sterlington 2
SULPHUR — Mangham staved off a fierce Sterlington comeback effort in the top of the seventh to capture its first state softball title in school history Saturday night.
Trailing 3-0 and down to its final three outs, the Lady Panthers staged a fierce, last-gasp rally.
Rebekah Wood led off with a double to center field and Amber Parnell reached on a one-out error. Carson Lyon followed with a two-run, opposite-field triple to right field, and the Lady Panthers suddenly had the tying run at third base.
Taking over in the circle for starter Arrin Dye, Leann Franks walked Sydnee Davis and Tanner Wilson to load the bases before striking out the next two batters to preserve the victory.
Dye retired the Lady Panthers' first seven batters before pitching out of a mild jam in the third. Back-to-back, one-out singles by Lyon and Davis and Tanner Wilson's sacrifice bunt left runners at second and third before Dye escaped the inning with a popup to second baseman Kara Wilcher.
Mangham broke through for two in its half of the third as three walks led to Grace Underwood's two-out, two-run single.
Sterlington stranded runners at second and third in the fifth following Lyon's two-out single and a double by Davis.
Cam Neathery led off the fifth with a home run over the right field fence for what would prove to be the decisive blow.
Dye allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits through 6.1 innings for the win, while striking out two and walking none before Franks came on for the save.
Neathery homered and Underwood and Dye singled for the Lady Dragons (27-11).
Lyon and Davis, Sterlington's No. 8 and 9 batters, were a collective 5-for-5. Lyon tagged a triple and two singles and Davis doubled, singled and walked. Wood doubled and K.B. Briley singled to round out the seven-hit effort.
Breanna Sylvestri went the distance in the circle for the Lady Panthers (23-13).
Notes: Sterlington and Mangham finished the regular season as District 2-2A co-champs after splitting their two conference meetings. ... Sterlington entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed while the Lady Dragons were ranked No. 4. ... Coach Scott Wilcher has now coached Mangham to state championships in two sports. Wilcher guided the Dragons to the 2013 baseball state title before assuming the softball coaching duties in 2014. ... Lyon went 5-for-6 in the tournament with six RBI. ... Davis, the Lady Panthers' lone senior, was 5-for-8 with two RBI for the three games.