Sterlington 5, Oak Grove 2
Reece Brooks' two-run double in the bottom of the second helped Sterlington get untracked in an eventual 5-2 win over Oak Grove, Saturday afternoon at Panther Park.
Sterlington spotted the Tigers two in the top of the second.
Bryant Russell led off with a base hit up the middle and Reid Milligan and Dalton Allen walked to load the bases. Consecutive RBI singles by John Ramsey Morgan and Lane Warren put the visitors up 2-0 with still nobody out.
Maintaining his composure on a day when he did not have his best stuff, Sterlington starter Trey Rugg minimized the damage by retiring the next three batters. Following a punchout, second baseman Jarrett McDonald caught a soft liner and handled a fielder's choice ground ball for the second and third outs.
Sterlington matched the Tigers' deuce in the home half of the second.
Braden Hough led off with a free pass and Brock Risinger scorched a base hit to left field to put runners at first and second with one out. Michael Givens, running for Hough, and Risinger both raced home as Brooks doubled to left field.
Sterlington's first three batters put down bunts to start a two-run third.
Carson Clowers beat out a bunt single and slid into second ahead of the throw on a pickoff attempt at first base. Davis Johnson's perfectly-placed bunt single down the third base line left runners at the corners. Executing the safety squeeze, Brooks Rushworth sacrificed Clowers across.
Shortly thereafter, Luke Denman came through with the big two-out hit, an RBI single to left, building the Panthers' lead to 4-2.
Sterlington (18-3) tacked on an unearned run in the fifth when Rushworth reached on a leadoff throwing error and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Bouncing back from a 38-pitch second inning, Rugg had retired seven in a row before walking Morgan with one out in the fourth. Next up, Warren was safe on an error before Rugg stranded both runners with a strikeout and a fly ball to Davis Johnson in right field.
Rugg worked five innings for the win, allowing four hits while striking out three and issuing three walks. Zach Jones worked the final two innings to log the save.
After escaping a bases-loaded, two-outs jam in the sixth, Jones nicked Ryan Johnson to start the seventh. Denman then hauled in a fly ball to deep left off the bat of John Bolding for the first out. Moments later, third baseman Seaver Sheets, McDonald and Risinger turned a game-ending, around the horn double play.
McDonald went 3-for-4 with a trio of doubles as the Panthers out-hit the Tigers 7-5. Brooks doubled and Clowers, Davis Johnson and Denman singled.
Morgan doubled and singled and Deuce Clement, Russell and Warren singled for the Grove (9-10).
Left-hander Braden Sullivan worked four innings in a losing cause with three innings of relief from Chad Ashburn.
Resuming District 2-3A play, the Panthers travel to Union Parish on Tuesday, host Madison Parish on Wednesday and visit Richwood Thursday. All three games start at 4 p.m.