Christian Stephens was stellar on the mound and the Lufkin bats woke up late as the Panthers picked up a 5-1 win over the Nacogdoches Dragons in District 16-5A action in Nacogdoches Friday night.
Stephens allowed a single unearned run on the mound in his complete-game effort. He gave up four hits and walked two while striking out eight for the Pack.
That effort was necessary as the Panthers scuffled through four scoreless innings before finally getting their bats going in the late innings.
Nacogdoches got on the board in the fourth inning when Dakota Siers led off with a single then came all the way around to score on a Lufkin error.
That seemed to serve as a wakeup call for the Panthers, who finally scratched out a run in the fifth inning.
Adrain Pena was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before stealing second. He eventually came around to score on an Adrian Cantu sacrifice fly that made it 1-1 after five innings.
The Panthers finally tok the lead for good in the sixth inning. Dylan Murphy started the rally with a walk then stole second before being sacrificed to third base by Max Quick. Adrian Pena was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners before Manuel Garcia delivered a two-run double to make it 3-1 in Lufkin’s favor.
That lead grew to 5-1 in the seventh inning with Jonathan Dewberry and Luke Rowley starting the inning with back-to-back singles.
Quick plated Dewberry with an RBI single and Ben Osgood drove in Rowley with the fifth run.
Lufkin eventually stranded the bases loaded, but that didn’t matter with Stephens baffling the Dragon hitters.
Stephens retired the side in order in the seventh inning, including a pair of strikeouts, to give the Panthers the win. He finished the game by retiring the final seven Dragons that came to the plate.
Hitters for Lufkin were Dewberry and Rowley (2 singles, run), Quick (2 singles, RBI), Garcia (double, RBI), Osgood (single, RBI) and Cantu (RBI).
Smith took the loss for Nacogdoches, allowing five earned runs in six innings of work.