Berwick 8, Sterlington 6
SULPHUR — Brent Williams' two-run double snapped a 6-6 sixth-inning stalemate and sent the Berwick Panthers to an 8-6 Class 3A semifinal victory over Sterlington on Thursday night.
Chad LaGrange was hit by a pitch to lead off Berwick's pivotal sixth inning. Reid Wiley, batting ninth, then hit into a force play, and Mitchell Sanford walked. Williams followed with a double just inches inside the left field line for what proved to be the game-winning hit.
Berwick pitcher Kyle Pitre worked a 1-2-3 sixth and retired the first two batters in the seventh before Sterlington put the tying run on base. Davis Johnson took a curve ball off the batting helmet to keep SHS' hopes alive and moved to third on Brooks Rushworth's base hit. Rushworth took second on the throw from the outfield to put runners at second and third before Pitre induced a groundout to finish off the complete game victory.
Berwick went up 2-0 in the top of the first.
Lucas Hatch was safe on a two-out throwing error and Zeph Hoffpauir singled to left, setting the table for Pitre's two-run double into the left field corner.
Pitre started the game with a pair of three-up, three-down frames before running into some trouble in the third.
Tucker Allen capped a seven-pitch at bat with a base hit to left, Brock Risinger walked and Seaver Sheets dropped a bunt single just inside the third baseline to load the bases with nobody out and the top of the order due up. Jarrett McDonald's RBI groundout put Sterlington on the board. Up next, Carson Clowers reached on an error off the safety squeeze, to send Risinger home with the equalizer. With still only one away, Johnson's sacrifice fly chased Sheets home to put Sterlington in front 3-2.
Sterlington's lead would be brief as Berwick strung together four consecutive one-out hits in the top of the fourth.
Kyle Boudreaux singled with one down, advanced to second on a wild pitch and crossed home with the tying run when LaGrange shot an RBI single through the crease between third and shortstop.
Moments later, LaGrange lined a 2-0 pitch down the left field line, enabling Berwick to take a 4-3 lead.
After Adam Tubbs replaced Trey Rugg on the mound, Sanford bounced a standup triple off the left field wall to give the BHS Panthers a two-run cushion.
Berwick capitalized on two walks and a pair of errors in the fourth to go up 6-3.
Patrick Robertson drew a two-out walk and eventually scored on a throwing error.
Sterlington leveled with three — all unearned — in its half of the fifth.
Sheets reached on a leadoff error and scored on consecutive two-out singles by Johnson and Rushworth. Braden Hough then went the other way for a two-run double to right field, squaring the score at 6.
Just as it did when Sterlington plated three in the third, Berwick countered immediately in the sixth.
In a gritty performance, Pitre went the distance for the win without recording a strikeout. He allowed two runs on seven hits while walking two and hitting one.
Half of Berwick's eight hits went for extra bases. Hoffpauir went 2-for-2, Sanford tripled, Williams, Pitre and Wiley doubled and Boudreaux and LaGrange singled.
Rushworth doubled and singled to pace SHS, Hough doubled and Johnson, Luke Denman, Allen and Sheets singled.
Tubbs, who gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits over 3.2 innings, was the pitcher of record for Sterlington (32-4). Rugg was charged with five runs (three earned) on five hits through 3.1 innings.
NEXT: Berwick (28-8), the No. 4 seed, will play No. 3 seed Iota (33-6) for the state championship Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Iota was a 3-0 winner over No. 2 Brusly (27-14) in the first semifinal.
CLOWERS COMMITS: Sterlington senior shortstop Carson Clowers verbally committed to sign with Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night. Clowers originally signed with Shelton State (Alabama) Community College, but will instead take the Division I route with the Lumberjacks.