Lady Cats face toughest challenge tonight
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

April 2, 2004 -- Sulphur Springs coach John McCullough only needs to say two words to the Lady Cats about tonight's game: "McKinney North."

"That's our rivalry for now," McCullough said before the start of district. "I really don't even have to say anything to the girls, they know what's at stake. "

At stake when the game starts at 7 p.m. tonight in McKinney is likely the District 11-4A championship.

McKinney North comes into the game with a 21-4 record, 3-0 in district, while the Lady Cats are 17-5-1, also unbeaten in district. In fact, Sulphur Springs hasn't lost a district game in over three years.

"It's important for them to go 40-0. That's something they're shooting for," McCullough said. "They've done a real good job of taking one game at a time. They don't overlook anybody, but obviously, McKinney North is the big rivalry in district right now."

Tonight's match-up is the probably the biggest obstacle in keeping the district streak alive.

The Lady Cats will be facing McKinney North ace Becky Nye, who is sporting a record of 13-3 and an 0.69 ERA. Nye has struck out 128 batters in 89 innings. She has a hard fastball and a good change-up, but the Lady Cats beat her both times they played last season.

Sulphur Springs will counter with senior Melissa McSheffery (8-3), who also has an ERA well under 1.00 at 0.84.

McSheffery has also been one of the team's leading hitters. She, Crystal Smitherman and Hollie Watson have all hit safely in each of the Lady Cats' district games.

They'll be facing a team that is ranked above them, something McCullough said the Sulphur Springs girls aren't pleased about. The Lady Bulldogs are ranked 10th in state by the Texas Girls Coaches Association and third in the area by the Dallas Morning News.

Sulphur Springs is unranked in each poll. They can do something about that tonight.

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