Ruston High School had plenty to celebrate Wednesday evening – two District 2-5A track and field championships, a boatload of regional qualifiers, and a nailbiting baseball triumph at Ouachita that stretched the Bearcats’ winning streak to 11.
A one-run loss in a pitching duel at Stanley in the Class B softball playoffs ended Choudrant’s season, leaving No. 6 Cedar Creek as the only parish squad still active, heading into a 4 p.m. Division IV quarterfinal contest today at third-seeded Ascension Christian.
RUSTON TRACK & FIELD: Dominant team championships by the Ruston boys and girls included 15 event victories (eight by the boys) and 42 regional qualifying performances (22 by the boys) in the 2-5A district meet at ULM Wednesday.
Among the individual victories, Bearcat stars Dyllon Nimmers and Brandon “B.J.” Green each grabbed two gold medals. The Lady Bearcats got a pair of district title performances from sophomore distance ace Lily Garrett and junior sprinter Jada Williams.
Garrett was dominant in the the 1600 meter run by 11 seconds (5:31.08) and captured the 3200 in 12:14.01. Williams dashed home first in the 200 (25.18) and 400 (56.33).
Green, the junior who is one of the country’s top prep triple jumpers, popped a 47-11 leap and went 22-2 in the long jump. Nimmers, the senior LSU signee, took the 800 (1:57.04) and 3200 (9:55.13).
The Bearcats’ other gold medal outings came from javelin thrower Jed Allen (162-9), high jumper Jamarion Reed (6-2), Caleb Babineaux in the 1600 (4:34.65) and in the 4×800 relay (8:30.59).
Ruston’s girls also got wins in the 4×100 (47.89) and 4×800 (10.41.45) relays. Kiona McCallister gave the Lady Bearcats first in the 800 in 2:32.81.
The girls scored 157 points to outdistance the 127 ½ by runner-up Alexandria Senior High. The boys rolled up 184 points with Ouachita a distant second with 121.
The Region I Championships are next Wednesday in Natchitoches at the familiar Walter P. Ledet Track Complex at Northwestern State, site of the annual LHSAA cross country championships.
RUSTON BASEBALL: A three-run rally in the top of the seventh made the difference Wednesday for the Bearcats, who got another outstanding outing on the bump from J.R. Tollett in a 4-1 win at Ouachita.
The sophomore righty scattered five hits, struck out nine and walked nobody in another complete game outing. He carried a shutout into the bottom of the seventh, when the Lions never threatened to overtake the ‘Cats.
Dyson Fields led a 10-hit Ruston attack with a 3-for-4 evening while Joshua Miller, Dawson Willis and Tollett posted two hits each.
Tollett led off the top of the fifth with a base rap and courtesy runner R Williams came around to score on an error to break a scoreless deadlock.
Willis opened the seventh with a double to right and scored on a suicide squeeze bunt by Jack Whitaker. Fields delivered a two-out, two-RBI single for a 4-0 advantage.
Ruston (23-8, 7-2) will celebrate Senior Night this evening at the Ruston Sports Complex in a 6 p.m. rematch with the Lions.
CHOUDRANT SOFTBALL: Each team had only three hits, and drew two walks. Stanley made two errors.
But the winning edge in a 2-1 decision in the Class B regional round playoff game Wednesday evening went to the homestanding Lady Panthers.
The 10th-seeded Lady Aggies (19-11) were error-free as Holly Bennett struck out five in the circle. Tori Martin had two of her team’s three hits, including a double.
Choudrant took a third-inning lead but seventh-seeded Stanley tied it in the bottom half, then notched the eventual game-winner in the next frame.
Zoey Smith got on board on a fielders choice and after a single by Martin, scored on a two-out error to make it 1-0. After drawing even in the third, a two-out triple from Bonnie Caston in the fourth inning plated the decisive run for Stanley.
The Lady Aggies got a runner to second twice afterward, including in their last chance, but Stanley didn’t falter as Lady Panthers’ ace Riley Palmer notched three swinging strikeouts in the top of the seventh.