Pitching was the key.
Sulphur Springs and Texas High, playing a make-up game Monday, were firmly deadlocked in a classic duel and as usual it came down to pitching.
The Wildcats’ pitching held the Tigers at bay allowing the squad to take a 3-2 win in a nine-inning District 13-4A marathon battle.
Jocko Spataro’s ninth inning two-out, run-scoring double knocked in Jake Dougan with the game-winning hit, breaking the 2-all tie and sending the Wildcats home as the happy winners.
The win gives Sulphur Springs a 5-4 district record while the Tigers fall to 7-1. The loss was the first district defeat by Texas High in two years. The Tigers had won 20 games in a row (seven this season) in district play prior to the loss to Sulphur Springs.
“We helped ourselves pretty good with this huge win. It was big, it makes us 5-4 and maybe in third place. We are in good shape I think,” said Sulphur Springs head coach Jerrod Hammack. “It’s just very encouraging when you have good pitching and you are able to comeback against a team like Texas High. I have all the respect in the world for their program. We got the big hit from Spataro to get the win and this really helps our chances. To beat them is exciting, we enjoyed it.”
The coach said that he was very proud of his pitching which strung together eight scoreless innings after surrendering a two-run homer by the Tigers in the first frame.
Starting pitcher Colby Suggs gave up two runs from two hits, struck out seven in three innings on the hill. Dougan pitched four shutout no-hit innings in relief, fanning seven. Mason Rawson pitched the final two innings, getting the win. Rawson gave up three hits and no runs.
“Pitching was great for us after we settled down,” Hammack said. “We gave up two runs early and then we had eight innings of shutout ball after that.”
The Wildcats scored a run in the second off a steal play and later tied the game with speedy Shane McQueen scoring from second base when an outfield fly ball was misplayed and he kept running all the way home. The run tied the game at 2-all and forced extra frames.
On the night, Sulphur Springs just managed three hits. Spataro’s double and singles by Kolton Jones and Dougan.
Turley started the game for Texas High, but did not take the loss, leaving the game tied. Caleb Dudley of the Tigers gave up the winning hit for Sulphur springs in relief.
“We’are playing really good baseball,” Hammack said. “I think we are peaking at the right time. All three pitchers pitched very well. We are getting enough hits. We’re able to scratch across runs when we need them. Against a team like Texas High, you just have to chip away because they are so good.”
The Wildcats are idle Tuesday, but return to district play at Mount Pleasant Friday at 7 p.m.
In sub-varsity action played Monday in Texarkana the Sulphur Springs freshmen and junior varsity lost baseball games on the road.
The Sulphur Springs freshmen lost 12-2, getting 10-run ruled by Texarkana.
The Wildcat JV lost a close battle, 8-5 to Texas High.
Cody Carns took the pitching loss, going seven innings. He allowed eight runs off nine hits, walking four, striking out four.
Carns did well at the plate with two hits, one RBI; Tanner Stonaker had a single and a solo homer; Jose Martinez knocked in two with one hit; Lane Anderson and Seth Maeker each had one hit.
The JV plays at Mount Pleasant at 4 p.m. Friday.
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