STERLING – Kaleigh Budd pitched a complete game and two Sterling hitters pounded home runs as the Lady Tigers recorded a 9-0 win over Lookeba-Sickles Monday.
The win improved Sterling’s record to 25-6 and pushed the Lady Tigers to No. 5 in the Class A softball rankings. Sterling will host a best-of-three series against Geronimo in district tourney action starting Friday. The winner will qualify for the regional tournament which begins Sept. 23.
“We played really well yesterday (Monday),” Sterling head coach Marty Curry said. “We scored six runs in the first inning against a really good team. If we play like we did yesterday, we can beat anybody.”
Although Geronimo is unranked and lost to Sterling 6-0 earlier in the season, Curry knows his players will have to be at their best.
“We can’t just show up and play. We have to come prepared,” he said. “But right now, everything’s looking positive and if we play well we should be OK.”
Sterling’s play was certainly OK Monday with quality pitching and well-timed hitting that included home runs by Ashlyn Clift and Kenley Geiger.
The Lady Tigers started fast with six runs in the first inning with three runs on Clift’s homer, a two-run blast by Geiger and another run off a passed ball. During that inning, Sterling had five hits and benefitted from a Lookeba error.
Sterling added another run in the second inning off an RBI single by Morgan Curry. The hit scored Emma Nunley who singled earlier in the inning. The Lady Tigers tallied two insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to seal the win. Nunley and Shelby Spence scored on a two-run single by Shelbi Pearson who finished with three hits in three plate appearances.
Nunley also finished with three hits in three at-bats. She also scored three runs in the run-rule game that ended after Lookeba batted in the top of the fifth inning.
Budd pitched a complete game and allowed two hits while striking out six Lookeba hitters and walking one batter.
During last Saturday’s festival action, Sterling defeated Kiowa 2-1 and dropped a 6-2 decision to Amber-Pocasset.
Kiowa tallied one run in the bottom of the first inning on a solo homer, but that was all the offense the host team could muster. Meanwhile, Sterling tallied single runs in the top of the third and fourth innings to take a 2-1 advantage.
Sterling tallied its first run on an RBI single by Nunley with Lacy Spence scoring from third base. The final run of the game came an inning later as Ellie Pierce singled in Clift who tripled earlier in the inning.
Budd pitched another complete game allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out six Kiowa hitters.
Sterling’s loss to Am-Po was only its sixth of the season. Am-Po tallied two runs in the first inning and another run in the top of the second to take a 3-0 lead. Sterling made a rally attempt with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but Am-Po tallied two runs in the top of the fifth to seal the victory.
Curry was tagged with the loss giving up five earned runs on nine hits while striking out two Am-Po hitters and walking one.
Sterling will play at Am-Po Sept. 29 for a rematch.