Practice. It comes naturally after all these months.
The Wildcats went through the rigors of practice Wednesday with good-natured grinning and workmanlike precision.
Coaches did not have to bark orders, players went through drills with instruction. They have been doing this since the January.
Many days and nights of cold weather have passed since then and the team seemed relieved to have a sunny 82 degree for practice. The team looked ready for the next round.
It will be a battle of Wildcats as Sulphur Springs (20-9-1) and Whitehouse (23-8) meet in a best-of-three Class 4A area playoff series. Game 1 is 7 p.m. Friday in Lindale; Game 2 is at 1 p.m. Saturday at the same location. Game 3, if needed, will be at the same turf field.
Both teams are coming off bi-district sweeps against tough competition. Whitehouse won 9-2 and 11-5 against Red Oak.
The Wildcats twice pulled out late inning magic to win 9-8 and 7-6 over a stout Wylie East squad. One game in Wylie, the final game played at Eagle Stadium.
“We have been working hard to prepare for the next series with Whitehouse. We believe we are peaking at the right time and playing very well. Whitehouse is a good team, but once again, my thoughts are mostly on us and how we will play,” said Jerrrod Hammack, Sulphur Springs head baseball coach.
Hammack has not released the pitching rotation, but will probably rely on the trio of Jenner and Jordan Jackson and sophomore Ben Brooks.
Jenner Jackson is 9-1 in 11 starts with a 2.07 earned run average. Jordan Jackson is 4-5, the senior lefty has a 2.52 earned run average. Brooks is 5-1 with two saves and a 3.68 earned run average.
“Jordan, Jenner, and Ben will carry most of the load on the mound for us in this series. However, we have been working with all our pitchers to keep them ready.”
Whitehouse got pitching wins from Ryan Cheatham and Patrick Mahomes in the win over Red Oak. Mahomes, son of former Major League pitcher Pat Mahomes, allowed just one hit in the 9-2 win. Mahomes, a junior, has verbally committed to a football/baseball scholarship to Texas Tech University.
Cheatham not only got the pitching win in the 11-5 deciding game against Red Oak, but also was 2 for 4 with two singles and two RBIs.
Hammack said, “We don’t know which one they will start first. We will be ready for both. They have two quality pitchers.”
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