Clay Benson's first career HR highlights Sterlington's win over Covington

Marq Mitcham (file photo) -- Clay Benson's leadoff home run set off Sterlington's nine-run third inning against Covington on Saturday morning.

LAKE CHARLES — Spurred by a nine-run third inning, Sterlington rolled to a 16-6 triumph over Class 5A Covington in the Lakeside Bank (Barbe) Tournament on Saturday morning.

Covington built a 3-0 lead with two in the top of the first and one in the second.

Jacob Gottschalk led off the game with an infield single, Devin Pounds was safe on an error and Jared Heck cracked an RBI double. Zack Bushnell followed with a sac fly to make it 2-0.

Joel King squeezed home Trent Rainey, aboard on a leadoff error, in the second for the Lions' third run.

Sterlington struck for six in its half of the second.

Trey Rugg and Clay Benson started the outburst with consecutive walks. With one away, Harrison Womack bunted and pulled in at second on an error to get the Panthers on the board. A free pass to Reece Brooks loaded the bases. All three runners darted home when Seaver Sheets lined an RBI single to center and raced to second on an E. Braden Hough followed with a base hit and took second on the throw to set the table for Davis Johnson's two-run single.

Bushnell's two-run clout over the right field wall trimmed the difference to 6-5 in the third. Pounds preceded Bushnell's bomb with a base hit.

Benson opened the Panthers' pivotal third inning with a shot over the right field wall for his first varsity home run.

Ten straight Sterlington batters reached safely with two outs and the bases vacant.

Reece Brooks singled and stole second, and Seaver Sheets and Hough were safe on consecutive errors to put the Panthers up 9-5.

After Brock Risinger walked, Ram Foster, running for Hough, stole third on the front end of a double steal and made his way home on a wayward throw.

Keeping the line moving, Johnson poked an RBI double and Rugg reached on a mishandled ground ball to put the Panthers in control 12-5.

Back to where it all started, Benson picked up his second RBI of the inning with a base hit. Kyle Elee singled and Womack was hit with a pitch to load the bases ahead of Brooks' two-run single.

Covington added a run in the fifth before Hough plated Brooks, who singled, with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to put the 10-run rule in effect.

Benson homered, singled, drove in two runs and scored three to pace the Panthers (12-2) offensively. Johnson contributed a double, a single and three RBIs, Brooks went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs and Hough was 2-for-4 with a pair of ribbies. Rounding out the 12-hit output were Rugg with a double and Sheets, Elee and Womack with base hits.

Gottschalk and Pounds had two singles apiece for the Lions (8-8), Bushnell drove in three runs with a homer and a sac fly, Heck doubled and Jacob Schoultz, Trent Rainey and Joel King singled.

Rugg went the distance for the win, striking out three and walking one.

Gottschalk, the Covington starter, and reliever Landen Fauntleroy were plagued by seven errors.