Speed kills and it also thrills.
Just like Willy Ivery gave touchdowns in football, he proved he could be just as valuable taking runs away.
Ivery’s shoestring catch in the top of the seventh preserved Sulphur Springs’ 5-2 win over Paris before a sunny crowd at Eagle Stadium.
The catch saved the day, and probably the game, for the hometown Wildcats.
The win was the ninth in the last 10 games for the Wildcats. It was their fourth consecutive victory.
“Having Ivery in the outfield is a definite defensive asset. I’m happy with the speed all of the outfielders have. I thought Brock made a good catch as well,” said Jerrod Hammack, Sulphur Springs head baseball coach. “We played well, but we had to because Paris is a good team. I think Paris will do very well in 3A baseball this season.”
Sulphur Springs opened the seventh frame up 5-2 with Cole Hill on the mound in relief of starter Jenner Jackson.
Paris got a one-out walk by Sheldon Baker as he battled through eight pitches to earn the free pass. Leadoff hitter Jaxon Radar singled to give the visitors two base runners. Then Dakota Smith came up with the chance to be a hero for Paris. Smith worked the count to 1-2 and then ripped Hill's next pitch to the shallow left field. The sinking liner was snagged by Ivery with a diving catch. He quickly bounced to his feet and threw to second base to double off Baker and end the game. The spectacular catch preserved the 5-2 win for Sulphur Springs.
The catch drew oohs and ahhs from the home crowd at the baseball park on the sun-splashed March afternoon. Players from the Sulphur Springs dugout joined Wildcats on the field as they went out to congratulate Ivery on the game-saving grab.
The contest was played in less than two hours with neither team able to get a big rally going. Sulphur Springs scored five times off seven hits. Paris had two runs off five hits in the contest.
The first run of the game came by the Wildcats with a rally in the bottom of the second. Jenner Jackson, who went 3 for 3 on the day, got an 0-2 pitch he could handle and ripped a single to the outfield. Zach Miller was inserted to run for the pitcher. Cabo Sanvig was retired on a ground ball, but the runner took third. Alex Burney hit a chopper to third base, which allowed Miller to score on the infield hit. The Wildcats took the 1-0 lead, but were unable to push across any more runs in that frame.
Paris scratched across a run on a walk, passed ball and a single to tie the game at 1-all.
In the bottom of the third, the Wildcats struck for three runs to get some breathing room in the game.
Ben Brooks and Ivery laced consecutive singles. Jordan Jackson hit a single to plate a run, but was thrown out at second base on a relay throw by Paris. The Wildcats got another base runner when Hill reached on a walk. Jenner hit a solid double to the outfield gap to make it 3-1. With Sanvig at the dish, Hill scored on a passed ball by the catcher and the Sulphur Springs lead was now 4-1.
Each team scored a single run each to set up the drama in the top of the seventh.
Sulphur Springs had a 5-2 lead which held up for the final thanks to the acrobatic catch by Ivery.
Jenner Jackson got the pitching win with six innings on the mound. He allowed two runs, one earned run, off four hits, striking out three and walking three while throwing 108 pitches.
Hill got the save, facing four batters in a scoreless seventh.
“Jenner wanted to stay in and finish the game. But he had thrown over 100 pitches and I decided to rest him for district,” said Jerrod Hammack, Sulphur Springs head baseball coach.
Losing pitcher was Kameron Sumrall. He allowed five runs off seven hits, striking out seven and walking one.
The Wildcats are 9-4-1 and will face North Lamar in a non-district game Friday at 1 p.m. at Eagle Stadium.
District 14-4A baseball competition starts Tuesday at Mount Pleasant. The varsity plays at 7 p.m.
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