It only took 91 minutes for Sulphur Springs to prove they are ready for District 14-4A baseball action.
The Wildcats scored 11 times off seven hits as they routed North Lamar in a non-district game played in rapid fashion at Eagle Stadium.
The game was the final tuneup before the start of district play Tuesday and it appears the Wildcats are hitting on cylinders. They are 10-0-1 over their last 11 games, having won five in a row.
“I feel good about the way we are playing. Again, we had good defense and pitching. I think we are hitting our stride at the right time.” said Jerrod Hammack, Sulphur Springs head baseball coach. “We squared up the ball and hit well throughout the lineup.”
Sophomore Ben Brooks started and pitched the first four innings of the lopsided win. He faced 14 batters, allowed one run off two hits, struck out three and walked none in a nice varsity debut before the home fans.
“Brooks is one of the most efficient pitchers we have. He only threw 35 pitches in the game. He gets the ball and throws strikes,” Hammack said.
Brooks sat down the first nine North Lamar batters he faced in order.
Brooks was replaced in the fifth by Garrett Hood. Hood closed out the game with a scoreless inning in relief. Hood allowed one hit, walking one.
The damage at the plate was done by several players, led by the thundering bat of Jenner Jackson. Jackson was 2 for 3 with five runs batted in. The highlight, a 3-run first inning homer. Alex Burney and Cole Hill had one least one run batted in. Cabo Sanvig was 1-for-3 with a double, two RBIs. Larry Pryor also knocked in two with a hit.
Sulphur Springs erupted for three runs in the first inning. They closed the game out with an eight-run fourth and won by the 10-run margin under the mercy rule after five frames.
Brooks sat the Panthers down in order in the top of the first on three balls, which did not make it out of the infield.
In the bottom of the first, the Wildcats went wild, scoring three times to set the tone for the game.
Jordan Jackson reached on a walk and quickly swiped second base. Cole Hill reached on error. Jenner Jackson got a hold of a pitch and ripped the offering down the left field line. The three-run homer delighted the crowd and put Sulphur Springs up 3-0.
“It was an inside fastball. I didn’t think it would stay fair, but it did,” Jenner Jackson said with a grin, describing his 4-bagger.
The Wildcats got another base runner in the first when Sanvig reached. North Lamar then pulled starting pitcher Hunter Reeves in favor of lanky lefty Daniel Gibbons. Gibbons opened the game at center field before he was called in to take the mound.
Gibbons struck out Kason Matthews, Pryor and Brennan Brock in order to end the threat.
The Panthers got their only run of the game in the top of the fourth. Reed Scudder singled to center field. Gibbons laid down a sacrifice punt to move Scudder to second. Colton Wise grounded back to Brooks on the mound. Brooks threw to first and the runner raced to third. With two out, Eric Dickey singled to right field plating the run making it a 3-1 game. Brooks fanned Jacob Cowley for the third out.
The bottom of the fourth was an explosion of runs for the Wildcats as they sent 13 batters to the dish, with eight scoring.
Matthews began the uprising with a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Pryor singled home a run. Brock drew a walk and the Panthers went back to the bullpen. Gibbons was replaced by Scudder on the mound. Alex Burney singled in a run. Jordan Jackson drew a walk. With the bases loaded, Hill worked the count to 2-2 and connected for an RBI single to right field to make the score 6-1. The Wildcats were just getting warmed up. Jenner Jackson padded his RBI total with a single to the outfield. Cabo Sanvig doubled to deep center field to plate two more runs and the Wildcats’ lead was 9-1. Matthews reached on an error and a run scored. The final run of the frame came when Pryor grounded out.
The Wildcats now had an 11-1 lead with action moving to the top of the fifth.
Hood took over on the mound. He faced five batters, giving up one hit and no runs. The game ended as the Wildcats won by the 10-run rule, 11-1.
“We are playing well. We still have room for improvement. We got Pryor back in this game and he contributed,” Hammack said. “He just got cleared to play coming back from an injury. He has been running and hitting with us. It’s good to have him available.”
The Wildcats are 10-4-1 as they open district play Tuesday at Mount Pleasant. The first home district game is Friday vs. Texas High.
Sulphur Springs 11, NL 1
North Lamar 000 10 1-3-4
Sulphur Springs 300 8x 11-7-0
Sulphur Springs, 10-4-1
Next game - Tuesday at Mount Pleasant, 7 p.m.
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