In an inexplicable development, Sterlington senior right-hander Trey Rugg has been voted MVP of District 2-3A. (Pardon the sarcasm. We’re running out of ways to describe Trey Rugg’s haul of postseason awards).
Continuing to bamboozle opposing batters in his fourth year in the rotation, Rugg won his final 13 decisions while composing a 14-1 record with a save and a 1.15 ERA. Going to the post for 17 starts, he pitched 97.1 innings, struck out 90 and walked 15 while giving up 69 hits.
Based on his pitching accomplishments alone, Rugg would have probably been the clear-cut choice for conference MVP. Taking the year he had at the plate into consideration made him a lock. Cashing in on the opportunity to bat on an everyday basis, Rugg won the team triple crown with a .389 batting average, eight home runs and 36 RBIs.
Mark Sims is Coach of the Year after skippering the Panthers to a 35-4 record and their second state title in three years. Following up a state semifinal appearance in its first season in 3A, Sterlington closed out the campaign with a 16-game winning streak.
Overall, the Panthers were awarded 21 spots on the team (10 first team, 6 second team, 5 honorable mention).
Joining Rugg as first-team pitchers are junior left-hander Adam Tubbs, junior right-hander Harrison Womack and sophomore righty Joby Guthrie.
Tubbs, the winning pitcher in the state championship game, made 15 mound appearances — 14 of which were starts. His final stat line featured a 9-1 record with a save and a 2.25 ERA. Working a total of 58.2 innings, he allowed 53 hits while fanning 62 and walking 25.
Womack concluded the year with a spotless 5-0 record and a 1.70 ERA. Collecting his only save in the state championship game, he pitched 2.2 scoreless innings to preserve the Panthers’ 4-2 win over South Beauregard. For the year, Womack labored 33 innings over 10 appearances and gave up 29 hits with 31 punchouts and a mere seven walks.
Guthrie (3-0, 1.37 ERA) drew three starts out of seven appearances. His season totals included 15.1 innings pitched, eight hits allowed, 19 strikeouts and just one walk.
Hough, a junior catcher/first baseman, rebounded from a slow start to hit .359 with a home run and five doubles. He ranked second on the team with 32 RBIs, including a walkoff single in the Panthers’ 1-0, eight-innings semifinal victory over Berwick. Batting from the No. 3 slot, Hough drew 19 walks and struck out only six times in 133 plate appearances.
Making a seamless transition from the outfield to second base, junior Reece Brooks collected a team-high 43 hits and tied for the team lead in runs scored (42) and hit by pitches (5). He produced a .364 batting average, two home runs, one triple, four doubles, and 27 RBIs while receiving 16 walks and stealing seven bases in eight attempts.
Sliding over to shortstop after starting at third base as a freshman, Seaver Sheets led the team in walks (25) and sacrifice bunts (6), tied for the team standard in runs (42) and ranked second on the club in batting (.369) and hits (41). His contributions also featured two triples, eight doubles, 15 RBIs and seven stolen bases in eight tries.
Senior cleanup batter Davis Johnson hit at a .351 clip, with a triple, nine doubles, 21 RBIs, 32 runs, five HBPs and five sac bunts. The team’s stolen base leader (8-for-8), he drew 13 walks against 10 strikeouts in 120 plate appearances.
Junior first baseman/designated hitter Brock Risinger turned out a .313 batting average and mashed two home runs to go with 20 RBIs, 33 runs and four sac flies.
Senior designated hitter Kyle Elee’s season stat line includes a double, four RBIs and 13 walks.
Rounding out the first unit from Union Parish are catcher Hayden Edwards, infielders Trent Ginn and Spencer Sensley, outfielder Jakius Wallace and utility player Trey Holly.
Representing Sterlington on the second team are sophomore catcher Grant Mangrum, junior utility player Zach Jones, and three outfielders — junior Hixson Street and sophomores Clay Benson and Parker Coley.
Mangrum threw out 9-of-18 base stealers and was charged with only one error in 21 games. On the offensive side, he hit .350 with eight RBIs and a dozen walks.
Primarily called upon to play third base, Jones drove in eight runs. In eight mound appearances (2 starts), the right-hander put together a 1-1 record with a 2.86 ERA and 20 punchouts through 14.2 innings.
Street hit .280 with 12 RBIs and zero strikeouts in 28 plate appearances. In two pitching appearances, the right-hander had a perfect 0.00 ERA through 2.2 innings.
Benson accounted for a .241 batting average, a home run, three doubles, 13 RBIs, 16 runs and five sac bunts. He was charged with only one error in 35 games.
Inserted into the lineup as the starting center fielder for the stretch run, Coley racked up a .294 batting average, two triples, two doubles, seven RBIs and walked 15 times. The MVP of the state championship game, Coley’s three-run triple staked the Panthers to a 4-0 first-inning lead in an eventual 4-2 victory over South Beauregard.
Listed on the second team from Union are pitchers Cade Smith, Josh Loyd and Triston Conley, infielder John Wesley Roan and outfielder Chase Dupree.
Receiving honorable mention recognition for the Panthers were junior right-hander Hayes Crockett, freshman right-handers Nick Whittington and Luke Handy, junior infielder Michael Givens and freshman outfielder Ram Foster.