Sterlington 9, Haughton 3
Seaver Sheets and Reece Brooks had two hits apiece and Trey Rugg struck out eight of the 11 batters he faced as Sterlington capsized the Haughton Buccaneers 9-3 Tuesday night at Panther Park.
With the Delhi Charter Tournament washed out, the Panthers (2-0) returned from an eight-day layoff.
"Not playing in the tournament last weekend hurt us," Sterlington coach Mark Sims said. "We had a couple of instances of not going where we were supposed to go defensively tonight, but that's going to come. Hopefully, we'll be able to get our games in this weekend and play every day."
Four of Haughton's first five batters hit safely in a two-run first.
Carter Griffin dropped a leadoff single into right field and raced home on Caleb Green's double to the right-center gap.
With one away, Jonathan Sewell singled up the middle and C.J. McWilliams' perfectly-executed squeeze bunt went for an RBI single.
"Haughton came out swinging the bat," Sims said. "Adam Tubbs threw the ball pretty well. They're just a quality 5A team. Haughton's going to be in the 5A playoffs, so this was a big win for us."
Leading off the home half of the first, Davis Johnson smoked a fly ball to Griffin in deep center field for what would be the start of a 1-2-3 inning.
Tubbs fanned the first two batters to start the second. Back to the top of the order, Griffin doubled to right-center before Brooks handled a ground ball to second base for the third out.
Sterlington got all it would need in the second, sending nine batters to the plate in a four-run uprising.
Brock Risinger reached on a misplayed ground ball and Sheets walked to jump start the Panthers. Brooks followed with a base hit to left to load the bases with nobody out. Next, Clay Benson singled Risinger across to bring Sterlington within 3-1.
With one away, Hixson Street clubbed a two-run single just inside the right field line to put the Panthers ahead to stay.
Haughton starter Dustin Barron then charged off the mound on Johnson's squeeze bunt and flipped to catcher Cameron Barton in time to get a sliding Benson out at the plate.
Kyle Elee followed with a base hit to left, upping the margin to 4-2.
Peyton Stovall started the Haughton third with a base hit. With two away, Landon Thompson beat out an infield single, Barron reached via error and James Rose walked to force in a run. Tubbs avoided further damage with an inning-ending punchout, enabling the Panthers to maintain a 4-3 lead.
Sterlington created some distance with three in the third.
Risinger served up a leadoff base hit to left and continued to third on Sheets' double to left-center. Brooks picked both runners up with a base hit to left, extending the difference to 6-3. After Brooks took third on a passed ball, Benson drove in his second run of the evening with a sacrifice fly to center.
Between Tubbs and Rugg, the Panthers would not allow another runner past second base over the final four innings.
Sterlington catcher Braden Hough made an amazing play start the fourth. Sliding into the padding directly behind home plate on Griffin's popup, Hough held on for the first out. Risinger gloved a grounder to first base for out number two, and Stovall found the left-center gap for a double. Tubbs then finished his outing with an inning-ending punchout.
Haughton reliever Dawson Hunt worked a three-up, three-down fourth with second baseman Stovall making a leaping grab on Hough's liner for out three.
On for Tubbs in the fifth, Rugg struck out the first four batters he faced before allowing a one-out single to Brock Breed in the sixth and a two-out single to C.J. McWilliams in the seventh.
Sterlington wrapped up the scoring with rouges in the fifth and sixth.
Grant Mangrum's bases-loaded walk in the fifth padded the Panthers' lead to 8-3.
Hough singled up the middle with one away in the sixth. Zach Crain, Hough's courtesy runner, moved into scoring position when Risinger drew his second straight walk and scored on Sheets' double to deep right.
Tubbs (1-0) was charged with three runs (two earned) while striking out six and walking one through four innings. Rugg pitched three scoreless innings for the save.
Both sides generated 10 hits. Sheets bashed a pair of doubles in three trips to the plate and Brooks went 2-for-3 with a pair of ribbies to pace the Panthers. Street doubled home two runs. Batting cleanup, Risinger went 1-for-2, reached safely in all four plate appearances and scored three runs. Elee, Hough, Benson and Harrison Womack supplied base hits.
Griffin and Stovall doubled and singled for the Bucs, McWilliams had two singles, Green doubled and Sewell, Thompson and Breed singled.
Barron, Brody Shankle, Hunt and Caleb Green all took turns on the mound for Haughton (2-1).
Sterlington is scheduled to play four games — all at Panther Park — in the Trey Altick Tournament. Sims announced Zach Jones as the starter for Thursday's 7 p.m. tilt vs. Loranger.
Panther Park and the Sterlington Sports Complex are two of 13 sites for the annual mega-tournament, which runs Thursday-Saturday.
The complete list of Trey Altick Tournament games scheduled for Panther Park:
(Subject to change)
Kentwood vs. Beekman, 4:30 p.m.
Sterlington vs. Loranger, 7 p.m.
Sterlington vs. Kinder, 4:30 p.m.
Opelousas Catholic vs. Oak Grove, 7 p.m.
Beekman vs. Loranger, 10 a.m.
Sterlington vs. Natchitoches Central, 12:30 p.m.
Mangham vs. Madison Prep, 3 p.m.
Sterlington vs. Jena, 5:30 p.m.