By Kyle Roberts
BASEBALL: Ruston High’s baseball squad (1-4) won one and lost three in the North DeSoto Tournament over the weekend, beginning with a 13-5 win at home against the St. Frederick Warriors on Thursday, Feb. 23, before losing at Byrd 11-4 on Friday and then at Parkway 3-2 and at Captain Shreve 8-7, both on Saturday.
“We played very well against St. Frederick,” Ruston head coach Zack Smith said. “I thought we pitched well. Talan Billberry started the game for us; he’s a sophomore, and it was his first time pitching for varsity. I thought we ran the bases really well and really hit the ball.”
Senior Justin Szymanski finished Thursday’s game with two hits and three RBI, while sophomore Jake Simmons added two RBI.
Billberry went three innings and only allowed one hit while striking out one, as well.
“I’m really happy with what Szymanski is doing at the plate,” Smith added. “He’s really leading this ball club right now. We have to get some guys going that do well for us.”
While Ruston would drop the next three, Smith said that he is confident about the season moving forward.
“It’s baseball and we understand how this works,” Smith said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors on this team and they’ve been though it. We’re hoping that with that experience and the culture we have here, that we’re going to have something positive. We’re not worried about the end result right now; it’s about the process.”
SOFTBALL: The Ruston High Lady Bearcats took a 21-0 win over Peabody in three innings on day one of the Pineville Tournament Friday, Feb. 24, before losing two straight on Saturday: first to Montgomery 3-2 and then Holy Savior Menard 11-8 in extra innings.
“If you look at our scores you could think we are all over the map, but over the past week I’ve watched our girls experience adversity and at times be frustrated but at the same time they continued to come to practice and wanted to get better,” Ruston head coach Lauren Garvie said. “That showed this weekend in the Pineville tournament. They played as a team, their bats came alive and worked hard. I got several compliments from umpires about our girls and how they played.”
Both Saturday games were nail-biters for the Lady Bearcats, but Garvie was pleased with the way her team competed.
Junior Cala Wilson hit a home run in both Saturday games for Ruston, while striking out eight batters in the Holy Savior Menard game.
Sophomore Riley Atwood also went 2-for-3 at the plate on Saturday, while Garvie pointed out sophomore Abby Holton’s error-free play at third base.
“In both games Saturday they started off down after the first inning and both times came back. Our game against Menard being the biggest, we were down 6-0 going after the first and in the third the girls worked hard to tie it and eventually take it into extra innings. That’s competitiveness and I think they are ready to build on that because it’s a good example of who these girls are.”