Sterlington 7, Ouachita Christian 1
Monday night's game between Sterlington and Ouachita Christian was all but over by the end of the first inning.
The Panthers (10-1) hung a three-spot on the board in the bottom of the first and senior right-hander Trey Rugg took care of the rest in a 7-1 victory over the visiting Eagles.
"It's always nice to come out with a 3-0 lead," Rugg said. "You feel like you are in control. You can attack the hitters and pitch to contact instead of pitching around them."
Rugg was especially grateful for the lead after pitching from behind in his previous start, a 3-2 loss to Winnfield on Tuesday, March 5.
"They got two in the first, and had a great dude on the mound," Rugg said, referring to Winnfield righty Justin Lawson. "It was good to come back with a win tonight."
Ahead in the count 0-2, Rugg walked Britton Mulhern to start the game before retiring the next eight batters.
Sterlington went to work right away as four of its first five batters hit safely.
Reece Brooks singled to left and slid home head first on back-to-back, one-out singles by Braden Hough and Brock Risinger. Cleanup batter Davis Johnson made it three straight hits with an RBI single to left-center. Risinger and Johnson both moved up on a passed ball, setting up Rugg's sacrifice fly to center field.
OCS wasted Britton Mulhern's two-out double off the right field wall in the top of the third.
Rugg helped himself again at the plate as the Panthers widened the margin to 4-0 in the home portion of the third.
Risinger led off with a base hit up the middle, advanced into scoring position on Johnson's bunt and touched home on Rugg's opposite field single to right.
Clint Hargrave doubled to left-center with one out in the OCS fourth, but Rugg got out of the inning with a popup to shortstop Seaver Sheets and a punchout.
OCS, which put runners aboard in every inning except the second, finally got to Rugg for a run in the fifth.
Hunter Herring drew a leadoff, full-count walk, swiped second and scored on Britton Mulhern's double to left to bring the Eagles within 4-1.
Rugg, however, would not allow another runner past first base.
After leaving the bases loaded in the fifth, the Panthers put the game away with three more in the sixth.
Harrison Womack singled to left and Brooks walked to put two on with none out. Womack sprinted home when Sheets legged out a bunt single and continued to second on an errant throw to make it 5-1.
Hough then drew a free ride to fill the bags with still nobody out. Risinger followed with a sac fly to center and Johnson drove in his second run of the evening on a squeeze bunt to wrap up the scoring.
Rugg (3-1) struck out 10, walked two and scattered six hits.
Risinger went 2-for-3 with a sac fly, two RBIs and two runs scored to pace the Panthers at the plate. Hough went 2-for-3 with a walk, and Brooks, Sheets, Johnson, Rugg and Womack rounded out the nine-hit attack with singles.
Britton Mulhern was a thorn in the Panthers' side with a pair of doubles, a walk and an RBI. Hargrave doubled and Dale Fulmer, Herring and Gavin Shepard singled for the Eagles (10-4).
Ty Pankey was dealt the setback on the mound for OCS with Kade Woods and Cadge Wallace in relief.
Next, the Panthers travel to Lake Charles Barbe for the Lakeside Bank Tournament. Sterlington is matched against Calvary Baptist on Thursday at 3:10 p.m., perennial Class 5A power Barbe on Friday at 5:35, Covington on Saturday at 9 a.m. and Sacred Heart (Ville Platte) on Saturday at 11:15.
"It's a big power point weekend for us," Rugg said. "Everybody on the team is excited about the opportunity to play some high-quality teams and to play in Barbe's ballpark. I've seen pictures of it, but I've never played there. We're really looking forward to it."
LAKESIDE BANK TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
(At Lake Charles Barbe)
Sterlington vs. Calvary Baptist, 3:10 p.m.
Barbe vs. Sacred Heart, 5:35 p.m.
Covington vs. Calvary Baptist, 8 p.m.
Sacred Heart vs. Covington, 3:10 p.m.
Barbe vs. Sterlington, 5:35 p.m.
Sacred Heart vs. Calvary Baptist, 8 p.m.
Covington vs. Sterlington, 9 a.m.
Sterlington vs. Sacred Heart, 11:15 a.m.
Barbe vs. Covington, 1:30 p.m.
Barbe vs. Calvary Baptist, 3:45 p.m.