The Sulphur Springs Wildcats get district victories the old-fashioned way - they earn them.
With apologies to the ghost of John Houseman, for paraphrasing his famous commerical. It seems the Wildcats seldom do things the easy way.
Sulphur Springs put on a power display with three home runs to build a quick lead. The Pirates rallied and the Wildcats had to hang on by their fingernails to take a 7-6 win in district battle.
The Wildcats improved to 12-6-1 overall, 2-2 in district.
Pine Tree fell to 13-10, 2-2.
The crowd at Eagle Stadium for the rare Thursday game went home exhausted from the action which lasted two hours and 14 minutes on a cool night before the Easter break.
"I still feel my heart racing in my chest. I can't remember in all the things I have been through, a game like this. We got the 7-1 lead and started to coast," Jerrod Hammack, Sulphur Springs head baseball coach said. "Give Pine Tree credit, they came back. We did not add to our lead and they kept scoring. We need to have a killer instinct when we get a team down. Late in the game the momentum changed. Even though they were behind, they thought they could win. But we held on and got a big district win. It sure wasn't easy. Some of things were our doing, some were the umps and some were Pine Tree."
At the dish the Wildcats had eight hits in the win.
Cole Hill was 2 for 3 with two runs scored with a two-run homer. Kason Matthews knocked in three with one home run. Willy Ivery had one hit, a two-run homer. Jordan Jackson was 2 for 3. Jenner Jackson and Cabo Sanvig had one hit each.
Jenner Jackson got the pitching win going 5 1/3 innings. He faced 31 batters throwing 118 pitches. He allowed seven hits, six runs, three earned runs, struck out four, walking three and hitting three batters.
Ben Brooks notched the save, pitching the final 1 2/3 innings throwing 35 pitches, facing 10 batters. Brooks allowed one hit, no runs, striking out two, walking one and hitting two.
"We can't give people free bases," Hammack said. "All of our pitchers need to be more efficient. It's one thing to give up a hit, but we can't just walk people and hit batters. We have to do a better job with that."
Going into the top of the sixth, the Wildcats were still in good shape up 7-3. Then things started to turn against the home squad.
Pine Tree got a base runner when Mason Hays was hit by a pitch on the hit. Leadoff hitter Trevor Thomas reached on an infield grounder. Jake Odom singled home a run with a hit to left field to make it a 7-4 game. Jenner Jackson then hit Chris Chadwich on the wrist with a pitch. The senior hurler was removed from the mound and replaced by sophomore reliever Brooks. Brooks hit the next batter on the shoulder to force in a run and it was a 7-5 game. Brooks struck out Aaron Rodriguez for the second out. Pine Tree went to the bench and used pinch-hitter Spencer Emerson. On the first pitch he saw, Emerson took one for the team, reaching base after getting hit at the plate and another run scored to get the Pirates within a 7-6 score. Brooks struck out Bradley Clayton looking to end the threat.
Sulphur Springs was now facing the third pitcher of the night for the Pirates, Chandler Minze. The Wildcats immediately got a base runner when second sacker Alex Burney drew a walk on four pitches. Designated hitter Larry Pryor moved Burney to second with a sacrifice bunt. The next two batters popped out and the Wildcats were unable to pad their lead as action moved to the top of the seventh.
Brooks got two quick outs in the seventh, but Pine Tree would not die. Mason Liv reached on an infield grounder when the throw pulled the first baseman Matthews off the bag in a bang-bang play at first. Jake Odom reached and Blake Adams popped out to end the threat and the game.
The Wildcats hung on to get the 7-6 victory. Pine Tree left 13 runners on base in the nail-biting thriller.
In the early going, it was all Sulphur Springs as the Wildcats put on a power display that would be welcome on the Fourth of July.
After Pine Tree went meekly in the top of the first, the Wildcats went to the plate in the bottom of the first frame.
Jordan Jackson rapped a one-out single to center field. Hill hit a grounder to shortstop, then rushed his throw due to Hill’s speed and the toss sailed pulling the fielder off the bag. The Wildcats had runners on first and second. Jenner Jackson grounded out, but the runners advanced to second and third. Matthews hammered the second pitch from Pine Tree pitcher John Cravey high and deep over the left field fence, the ball bouncing off Houston Street for a three-run homer. Burney flied out to right field, but the Sulphur Springs fans were happy as the home team had taken a 3-0 lead.
Pine Tree scratched across a run in the top of the second. Jenner Jackson limited the damage as he regrouped to get the first two outs on a strike out and a ground out. Pine Tree left the bases loaded and could not manage more than a lone run.
Sulphur Springs went back to work at the plate and staged a dramatic four-run rally with two outs. Sanvig pounded on a 1-1 pitch to the outfield. Ivery worked the count to 3-1 and clouted the next pitch over the centerfield fence for a two-run blast.
With crowd and Pine Tree players still buzzing about the long ball power, Jordan Jackson laid down a bunt. His soft hit only rolled about six feet from home plate down the third base line against a deep infield and was a nifty move by the senior. Hill, known more for his speed and throwing arm, delivered power at the plate taking a 1-1 offering high over the left field fence for a two-run shot. Jenner Jackson singled, but was left stranded when Matthews popped out. All the Wildcat players were happy as they bounded onto the field with a 7-1 lead.
Sulphur Springs would not score in the next five innings. Pine Tree scored twice in the fifth and three more times in the sixth. Brooks pitched a scoreless, but eventful seventh, to secure the 7-6 victory for the Wildcats.
"Brooks did a good job. Again, he comes in throwing strikes. He just a sophomore and is doing a heck of a job for us," Hammack said. “We needed this win. We are 2-2 and back in the mix.”
In the junior varsity game, Pine Tree took a 9-1 decision.
Sulphur Springs managed just four hits. Parker Aguilar had a double to plate the only run. Landon Brock tripled and Jonathan Gaddis had a double. Carson Hicks added a single.
Losing pitcher was starter Kade Hudgins. Hudgins was removed after three innings, allowing five runs. Hunter Elliott finished the game and allowed the final four runs in the defeat.
The varsity Wildcats are idle until April 5 when they play at 7 p.m. in Marshall.
|< Prev||Next >|