Sterlington outs RA with seventh-inning homer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The end to Riverside’s 2008 softball season was a memory that the Rebels were determined to erase in 2009.

Almost cruelly, their season ended in all too similar fashion Thursday.

Sarah Wood’s solo home run to left field with two outs in the top of the seventh inning lifted Sterlington to a 4-3 Class 2A regional round playoff victory at Riverside, sending the Panthers on to Sulphur to the state softball tournament and ending the season of a Rebel team that had dreams of a state championship.

“In the sixth inning, it was tied 3-3 and I said that it was a shame that somebody had to lose this game,” said Sterlington coach Boyd Cole. “Riverside’s got a heck of a club.

“But now, we’re off to Sulphur, and we’re excited. We’re gonna go and see what happens.”

Said Riverside coach Kristy Hebert: “It shouldn’t have come down to that (Wood’s home run). We didn’t produce at the plate as we had been in the last couple of weeks.”

The end for Riverside (21-13) brought almost eerie recollection of its loss in the state semifinals to Doyle. Sterlington (17-12), the tournament’s tenth seed, began the inning with two quick, shallow pop fly outs — just as Doyle had a year before.

The difference was in the loss to Doyle, the Rebels led by one before a walk and a home run ended the game instantly in the bottom half of the final inning.

On Thursday, the game was tied at three in the top of the seventh inning, and Wood’s drilled a shot to left. It just evaded the reach of left fielder Taylor Terrio, who stretched over the wall — and actually ran into the wall — for the attempted catch.

But the ball bounced over.

“I started to tear up. I guess I just asked God to help, and he did,” said Wood. “I gave it my all on that swing. I grunted when I hit that ball.”

Said Hebert: “The home run last year, nobody had any chance to catch that. My leftfielder made a spectacular effort, tried to run through the wall to catch it. I hate to see it end that way, but it shouldn’t have come down to that.”

Panthers starter Devan Reese went on to retire the middle of the Riverside lineup in order to clinch the game.

Reese, who returned two weeks ago from a hip injury that sidelined her for the majority of the season, struck out 12 batters and allowed three runs on four hits.

“It was nerve wracking, especially at first,” she said. “But we all believed, no matter what happened.”

Eighth grader Destin Vicknair pitched the complete game for Riverside. She allowed four hits and struck out one and walked four.

Sterlington led 3-0 in the fourth inning, where Riverside rallied to tie the game.

Kori Bourgeois started the Rebels off with a walk, and Terrio bunted for a single. Heidi Garcich would drive both in via a triple with one out, and Shea Lafountain knocked her in from third on a sacrifice bunt.

But Hebert lamented the lack of production in other innings, specifically with runners in scoring position. Riverside left two runners on in the first inning, the bases loaded in the second inning, and two more on in the fifth.

Sterlington led 1-0 after the first inning after a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Reese, after a base hit, a walk and an error. The lead tripled in the third when two runs scored on a double by Taylor Holland.

“That ball was one that should have been caught. They got another run off of an error,” said Hebert. “As far as I’m concerned, it should have been 3-1. (Sterlington) fought hard, but we didn’t play our best.”

RA 11, LIVONIA 1 — The seventh seeded Rebels earned their way into the second round of the playoffs with a 10-run rule victory over visiting Livonia in five innings on Tuesday.

Vicknair earned her first career playoff victory. She allowed two hits and struck out seven.

Bridget Petit doubled twice and had four RBIs.

Lafountain’s fifth inning base hit scored Terrio to make it 11-1 and officially clinch the win. It was Lafountain’s second RBI of the day.

Ayla Vicknair was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.