Ruston 6, Sterlington 5
For the second straight game, Sterlington rallied in the bottom of the seventh only to come up a run shy.
Sterlington plated two runs and put the tying run at third base before Harlie Robinson worked out of the jam to preserve Ruston's 6-5 victory Wednesday night in the regular season finale for both teams.
Tanner Wilson led off the Sterlington seventh with a single to left and moved to second on Breanna Sylvestri's groundout. K.B. Briley then lined a single off Robinson's glove and advanced to second uncontested, placing runners at second and third. Next, cleanup batter Rebekah Wood found the right-center gap for a two-run double, reducing the deficit to 6-5.
Robinson got out of the inning with no further damage as second baseman Kaylee Webb handled a ground ball for out number two and shortstop Addi Pullen went to her knees to grab a soft liner for the final out.
It was all Ruston early.
Webb reached on an error to start the game and Robinson followed with a bunt single. After Webb and Robinson executed the double steal, Addi Pullen singled home the first run of the game. A walk to Emma Shively loaded the bases with still nobody out.
Batting fifth, Mallory Goss smacked a two-run double to right-center as the Lady Bearcats opened up a 3-0 cushion.
Ruston expanded the difference to 5-0 with two more in the fifth.
Macy Goss led off with a base hit to left and Mia Kinsey sacrificed, bringing up the top of the order. Also called upon to bunt, Webb reached on an error and circled the bases as a high throw to second base sailed into the outfield.
Sterlington battled its way back into the game with three in the third.
Jada Smith singled with one away, stole second, scurried to third on a wild pitch and completed the cycle on Wilson's infield hit.
A groundout and a Briley walk later, consecutive two-out singles by Wood and Lyon brought the Lady Panthers within 5-3.
Neither team would threaten again until the Lady Bearcats picked up what proved to be the decisive run in the sixth.
Leading off, Lakiya Woods drew a free pass, swiped second and third and scored on Macy Goss' squeeze bunt to give the visitors a 6-3 cushion.
Backed by an error-free defense, Robinson went the distance for the win, striking out two and walking two.
Offensively for the Lady Bearcats (18-11), Pullen went 3-for-4 with a double, Mallory Goss doubled and Robinson and Macy Goss singled.
Wood went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs as the Lady Panthers out-hit Ruston 10-6. Wilson supplied two singles and Briley, Lyon, Amber Parnell, Catherine Trichell and Smith contributed base hits.
Wilson was dealt the loss for the Lady Panthers (26-7), with Sylvestri providing five innings of one-hit relief.
Notes: Ruston avenged a lopsided 18-0 loss to the Lady Panthers. Robinson was unable to pitch in the March 9 game due to an injury. ... Woods made a highlight reel catch in the second inning, tracking down a deep drive off the bat of Lyon and running into the center field fence. ... Ruston snapped a four-game losing streak. ... Sterlington scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 10-9 loss to District 2-5A champion Ouachita on Tuesday night. ... Counting Monday's 3-1 setback to District 2-4A champ West Ouachita, the Lady Panthers ended the regular season on a season-high three-game losing streak. ... Playoff brackets will be released Thursday by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.