Sterlington 8, Loreauville 1

Dalton Dopson smashed a three-run home run in the bottom of the first and Trey Rugg went the distance on the mound as Sterlington defeated Loreauville 8-1 Friday night in Game 1 of a best-of-three Class 2A state quarterfinal series.

Sterlington (30-5), the No. 1 seed, and No. 9 Loreauville (18-10) face off again Saturday at 11 a.m. at Panther Park. Game 3, if necessary, will be played 30 minutes following the completion of Game 2.

In Friday's game, the Panthers gained the upper hand quickly.

Jarrett McDonald worked the count full before drawing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first and Jacob Barr took a pitch off the hip. Davis Johnson bunted the runners over, and Dopson launched a missile over the left field wall. Four batters, three runs.

"Those three runs in the first were huge," Sterlington coach Mark Sims said. "Give credit to Rugg for throwing up a bunch of zeroes. We got the early run support, and that helped him."

Sterlington doubled its margin to 6-0 with three more in the third.

Leading off, Davis Johnson deposited a home run over the left field wall.

Dopson then rolled a base hit through the hole between the first and second basemen, and Brooks Rushworth reached on a two-base throwing error, leaving runners at second and third with nobody out. Carson Clowers followed with an RBI single to left and Luke Denman plated the Panthers' sixth run with a base hit to left.

Rugg pitched himself into and out of trouble in the fourth, hitting Conner Landry and walking Case Clifton to start the inning.

"We had a long inning (batting), and I didn't take my warmups as seriously as I should have," Rugg said. "I threw way too far inside and hit (Landry), then I was down 3-0 (to Clifton). I got it to 3-2 and ended up walking him."

Clifton's walk put runners at first and second with nobody out and brought Sims out of the dugout.

"Coach Sims came out and chewed me out a little bit," Rugg smiled. "He said, 'Find your spot and stay calm. They're probably going to score one, but don't let it get out of hand.'"

Shajuan Nora's fielder's choice grounder to shortstop (Clowers) left runners at the corners. Jobe Hebert then lined out to Rushworth, who stepped on the first base bag for an inning-ending double play.

"The baseball gods were on my side," Rugg said. "The ground ball to Carson was close to being a double play. Then, we had the line drive to Rush for the double play."

"That was the biggest point in the game to me," Sims said. "They have runners at first and second with nobody out, and they have life. Then we get the fielder's choice and the line drive double play."

Loreauville was able to push a run across in the fifth.

Dale Sonnier led off with a base hit to right and Rhett Viator scalded an RBI double off the left-center wall, bringing the score to 6-1.

Finishing strong, Rugg retired the Tigers' final seven batters to close out the victory.

Meanwhile, the Panthers added single markers in the fifth and sixth.

Clowers singled to start the fifth, stole second, advanced to third on Braden Hough's sacrifice bunt and scored on Denman's base hit to left.

Johnson walked, Dopson was safe on an error and Rushworth singled to load the bases with one out in the sixth. Clowers chased Johnson across with a sac fly to left, upping the Panthers' advantage to 8-1.

Rugg worked a three-up, three-down seventh with Rushworth shagging a fly ball in foul territory for the final out.

"They had their 7-8-9 batters coming up (in the seventh), and coach Sims wanted a 1-2-3 inning so they wouldn't get back to the top of the order," Rugg said.

Rugg struck out three, walked two and hit one, while allowing only two runners to reach third base.

Sterlington out-hit the Tigers 8-4 as Dopson homered, singled and scored twice, Clowers and Denman both went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, Johnson went deep and scored a pair of runs, and Rushworth singled.

Viator doubled and Chase Clifton, Sonnier and Caleb Washington singled for the Tigers.

Bryson Broussard took the loss on the mound, with 4.1 innings of relief from Viator.

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CLASS 2A STATE PLAYOFFS

First Round

(Single elimination)

No. 1 Sterlington 14, No. 32 West St. Mary 0

No. 17 North Caddo 7, No. 16 Jonesboro-Hodge 5

No. 9 Loreauville 15, No. 24 Rapides 1

No. 8 French Settlement 10, No. 25 Rayville

No. 5 Many 16, No. 28 Red River 0

No. 12 Mamou 10, No. 21 Oakdale 0

No. 13 Madison Prep 9, No. 20 South Plaquemines 5

No. 4 Kinder 2, No. 29 West John 0

No. 3 Lakeside 11, No. 30 Pickering 0

No. 14 Vinton 8, No. 19 Doyle 7

No. 11 Springfield 7, No. 3 Lake Arthur 3

No. 6 Mangham 11, No. 27 Lakeview 1

No. 7 Rosepine 10, No. 26 Delcambre 0

No. 10 Welsh 12, No. 23 Fisher 2

No. 15 Bunkie 3, No. 18 Pine 1

No. 2 DeQuincy 7, No. 31 East Feliciana 4

Second Round

(Best-of-3)

x- if necessary

North Caddo at Sterlington

Game 1 — Sterlington 10, North Caddo 0

Game 2 — Sterlington 8, North Caddo 0

Loreauville at French Settlement

Game 1 — Loreauville 8, French Settlement 6

Game 2 — Loreauville 14, French Settlement 4

Mamou at Many

Game 1 — Many 6, Mamou 3

Game 2 — Many 10, Mamou 0

Madison Prep at Kinder

Game 1 — Kinder 11, Madison Prep 1

Game 2 — Kinder 13, Madison Prep 4

Vinton at Lakeside

Game 1 — Lakeside 6, Vinton 2

Game 2 — Lakeside 7, Vinton 0

Springfield at Mangham

Game 1 — Mangham 4, Springfield 0

Game 2 — Mangham 8, Springfield 5

Welsh at Rosepine

Game 1 — Rosepine 8, Welsh 1

Game 2 — Rosepine 7, Welsh 3

Bunkie at DeQuincy

Game 1 — DeQuincy 5, Bunkie 0

Game 2 — DeQuincy 10, Bunkie 5

Quarterfinals

(Best-of-3)

Loreauville at Sterlington

Game 1 — Sterlington 8, Loreauville 1

Game 2 — Saturday, 11 a.m.

Game 3 — if necessary, 30 minutes following the completion of Game 2.

Many at Kinder

Game 1 — Kinder 18, Many 0

Game 2 — Saturday, 11 a.m.

Game 3 — if necessary, 30 minutes following the completion of Game 2.

Mangham at Lakeside

Game 1 — Lakeside 7, Mangham 0

Game 2 — Saturday, 1 p.m.

Game 3 — if necessary, 30 minutes following the completion of Game 2.

Rosepine at DeQuincy

Game 1 — DeQuincy 6, Rosepine 5

Game 2 — Saturday, 1 p.m.

Game 3 — if necessary, 30 minutes following the completion of Game 2.