Tyler Roark twirled 4 1/3 innings of shutdown relief and Koltyn Huber drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the winning run as Sterlington outlasted Jefferson Parish 5-4 in nine innings Wednesday afternoon in the Dixie Boys 14u World Series championship game.
Sterlington, the tournament host, went 4-1 en route to its first-ever Dixie Boys World Series title. This marks the first time for a northeast Louisiana team to win the 14-year-old division since West Monroe in 1968.
Sterlington’s march to the championship began and ended with victories over defending champion Jefferson Parish. In Friday’s first round meeting, Sterlington overcame a 10-0 deficit in an eventual 14-10 win.
“The first game kind of set the tone for us,” Sterlington coach Curt Adams said. “Obviously, to come back after being down 10-0, gave the kids a lot of confidence. We just wanted to represent Sterlington well, and our kids did a great job of doing so, on and off the field. This was an awesome experience — one these kids will always remember.”
A game that featured more than its share of drama ended on an anti-climatic note.
Zach Simpson legged out an infield hit to start the bottom of the ninth, and dashed all the way to third when a low throw to first caromed into foul territory.
Tyler Roark and Easton Bruscato were purposely passed to set up a force at home with still nobody out.
Huber then walked on five pitches to push Simpson across with the decisive run.
Sterlington fell behind in Wednesday’s game as well, though this time it kept the deficit manageable.
Brock Bullinger’s two-out, two-run double to left opened the scoring in the top of the third.
Sterlington countered with a deuce of its own in the fourth.
Bruscato led off with a base hit to left and Huber was safe on an error. Drew Ferguson bunted the runners over to place runners at second and third with one away. Ryan Stevenson chased both runners across with a base hit to left. Huber slid home head first ahead of a strong throw with the equalizer.
Jefferson, the Louisiana state champion, regained the lead with two in the fifth.
Giancarlo Arencibia cranked a one-out double to left-center and scored the go-ahead run on Daniel Schexnaider’s base hit to left. Two walks and an out later, Pierce Brodnax’s RBI single made it 4-2.
Summoned to the mound, Roark held Jefferson scoreless the rest of the way.
Down to its final out, Sterlington extended the game with two in the seventh.
Brennon McCarthy opened the frame with a double just beyond the reach of a diving left fielder.
Drawing his first start of the tournament, McCarthy responded by going 3-for-3 as the designated hitter from the No. 9 slot.
“Brennon had probably batted twice the whole week,” Adams said. “It was one of those things where we felt like he could come out and get some hits for us, and he made the coaches look like geniuses.”
McCarthy moved to third on Ramsey’s groundout and scored on Simpson’s ground rule double to center field.
Simpson advanced on Roark’s ground ball, placing the tying run at third with two away.
Bruscato then beat out an infield single deep in the hole between shortstop and third to force extra innings.
Roark pitched around a walk and two singles in the top of the eighth, and Sterlington wasted a leadoff double by Kaden Graham in the home half of the inning.
Jefferson stranded 17 base runners, including two more in the ninth, but could never solve Roark.
“Tyler came in and gave us five solid innings at a time when we were getting short on pitching,” Adams said. “He was a difference-maker for us on the mound today.”
Roark struck out seven, walked three and allowed two hits for the win. Stevenson drew the start for Sterlington with Huber in middle relief.
Sterlington out-hit Jefferson 13-8. Simpson and McCarthy both swatted a double and two singles, Graham doubled and singled, Bruscato poked two singles, and Roark, Ferguson and Stevenson singled.
Hitting for Jefferson were Arencibia with a double and a single, Bullinger with a double and Schexnaider, Austin Michel, Shane Hirstius, Brodnax and David Helwig with base knocks.
Coleman Capaci, who followed Arencibia and Bullinger to the mound, was the pitcher of record for Jefferson.