|Paris wins in season finale|
|Tyler Clifton | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
April 30, 2004 -- PARIS -- There wasn't much incentive to Thursday's season finale for Sulphur Springs, but there was incentive nonetheless.
Both SSHS and their Paris counterparts of the same name were fighting to stay out of the District 11-4A cellar. The only problem was that the visiting Wildcats didn't have much motivation. It was evident before they even set foot on the field, and once they did start playing, it became crystal clear.
SSHS took a brief 2-1 lead in the second but surrendered it a half inning later and was never able to recover in its 7-2 loss at Paris Junior College.
"It seemed like the kids were unmotivated on both sides," SSHS head coach Rahn Smith said. "It was quiet on the field, in the dugout and in the stands, and it didn't seem to matter much for either team."
Three errors didn't help matters, and two miscues in the fifth inning allowed PHS (7-15-1, 3-7 District 11-4A) to break the game open.
Pinch hitter Randy Barnett reached on an infield single and reached second on an error, while Cameron Dunn added a two-out walk, but Alex Aguilar seemed to get out of the inning by inducing a fly ball to pinch hitter Clint Dolf. The ball went in and out of Zack Wilhite's glove as he was trying to avoid a collision with Smith. Rea and Dunn scored easily, and PHS had a four-run advantage.
Gordon led off the sixth with an infield single and scored the final run on a wild pitch. He finished 3-for-4 with three runs and a stolen base. Dunn was 2-for-3 with a run, and Sikes was 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
"This was a game where we came in thinking we should win," Aguilar said. "I don't think I pitched all that great, but I learned a lot of things this season that will give me confidence in the next couple of years."
Aguilar, Kevin Roberts and Riley Tatum had consecutive singles in the second. Tatum's hit drove home courtesy runner Scott Stewart, while Roberts scored on a wild pitch for a 2-1 lead.
Paris answered in the bottom half of the inning, as Dunn led off with a single, while two-out hits from Lloyd Gordon and Sammy Morrone loaded the bases. Dunn and Gordon scored on Caleb Sikes two-RBI hit, and courtesy runner Carsen Hargis scored on a wild pitch to give PHS a 4-2 lead.
"We wanted to come in here and get our 10th win, sweep a team that is going to still be in our district next season and get it in their heads they couldn't beat us," Smith said. "Alex pitched another good game for us, and they took advantage of four infield hits and our three errors. Alex did what he was supposed to do by throwing strikes, but we didn't make the plays behind him."
Josh Riley ended the season on a strong note, getting hits in his first two at-bats, but Paris basically eased through the last five innings, allowing only three baserunners. Sam Smith drew a walk, and Casey McMahan singled to start a mini rally in the sixth, but both were stranded.
PHS used four pitchers on the evening, as Gordon got the win in relief, allowing one hit with one walk and one strikeout in two innings.
Gordon had a leadoff single in the first and scored on Casey Gain's RBI hit for an early 1-0 lead.
Notes: It was the final game for SSHS seniors Smith, Roberts, Tatum, Wilhite, Adam Peugh, Logan Pogue, Jarred Beck and Colston Copeland. ...McKinney North reached its goal of a perfect 10-0 season with a 5-2 win over Greenville that knocked the Lions into third place. ...Sherman clinched the second spot with its 3-2 win over archrival Denison that sent the Yellow Jackets home for the postseason.