STERLING – After allowing six runs in the first inning, Sterling rallied to post a come-from-behind 9-6 win over Leedey Monday night.
The win pushed Sterling’s season mark to 20-8 as the Tigers host district play which started Sept. 22 against Ninnekah. Results of that game were not available at press time.
“We’re the favorite to win it, but that doesn’t mean you will,” Sterling head coach Brett Holmes said.
The other two district tournament teams are Navajo and Hydro, which also played Thursday. The two winning teams played Thursday afternoon and the losing teams played later in the evening.
The district action continued Friday, Sept. 23 and a Saturday game is scheduled, if necessary.
Sterling took an early 2-0 lead against Leedey with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning on a two-run single by Riley Lile. However, Leedey pushed across its six runs in the bottom of the first thanks to a Sterling error and six hits, including a two-run double and a two-run single.
Sterling chipped away at Leedey’s lead with three runs in the top of the second on five consecutive walks and a passed ball that sent Kayden Wilson speeding home to cut Leedey’s lead to 6-5.
Sterling tied the game in the top of the fourth when Wilson doubled, advanced to third on a pop fly to right field and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Jayden Huitt. The Tigers took the lead in the top of the fifth inning on two consecutive Leedey walks and an error by the Leedey right fielder that scored Nate Anderson and Max Puccio.
Sterling added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Anderson that scored Max Dubios.
The pitching trio of Liles, Anderson and Tukker Hughes combined for 17 strikeouts as they held Leedey scoreless after the first inning. Sterling’s pitchers gave up four earned runs on nine hits while walking four Leedey hitters.
During festival action, Sterling rocked Rock Creek 10-2 and squeezed past Latta, 5-4.
Sterling’s Anderson scored the winning run in the top of the eighth inning after reaching base on a single. He stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and tallied the game winner on a base hit by Wilson.
Anderson had a solid night at the plate with three hits during four at-bats while scoring two runs. Huitt was credited the win after pitching the final two outs of extra-inning matchup.
Meanwhile, Sterling’s top four hitters in the lineup provided the bulk of the muscle against Rock Creek. The foursome of Anderson, Tyler Pierce, Wilson and Lile combined for nine hits, seven RBIs and seven runs scored. Huitt pitched a complete game allowing zero earned runs on two hits while striking out four and walking one Rock Creek hitter. Huitt threw 64 pitches and 46 (72%) were strikes.