|Cats lose three in Kilgore Tourney
SSHS faces top teams in both 4A and 5A
|Tyler Clifton | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
March 5, 2004 -- KILGORE -- He might have been facing the No. 1-ranked team in the state, but Sulphur Springs' Alex Aguilar wasn't intimidated in the least when he was told Tuesday by head coach Rahn Smith that he would be starting Saturday night against Henderson.
Aguilar (1-1) scattered five hits and had three earned runs with two walks and four strikeouts for a tough-luck 3-1 loss that had the Wildcats go 0-for-3 in Saturday's triple header at Driller Park, but his performance caught the eyes of coaches from both sides.
"I can't say enough about the way Alex competed," Smith said. "He did all I could ask for, from throwing strikes to focusing on the next batter if something didn't go his way.
"The game said a lot about our guys' ability to bounce back after a tough loss in the second game. This team won't give up, and although we're not satisfied with how the day went, that's a positive about this group."
SSHS (3-5) couldn't get much offense going against Lion starter Johnathen Teat, who struck out 11 Wildcats and had a no-hitter going until the top of the sixth, when Sam Smith singled to center.
"Their pitcher had a real good fastball tonight," said Kason Scroggins, who was held hitless in three at-bats after entering the game four for his last five. "He was hitting his spots well, but we showed how good a team we can be holding them the way we did."
Casey McMahan drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and scored on Teat's errant throw to first on Josh Riley's infield single. SSHS had the tying run at the plate with one out, but Teat retired the final two batters for the win.
Chris Hayes had a two-out double in the second after a Preston McGinnis single and Matt Trevino walk. McGinnis fouled off four two-strike pitches in the third before eventually grounding out to end another scoring threat.
Aguilar threw 102 pitches, 63 for strikes.
"This game gives me a whole lot of confidence," Aguilar said. "I walked too many batters and hit a couple of guys, but it wasn't too bad of a way to start the season. This lets us know we can compete against anybody in district, and that's what it's all about."
Clay Baker singled to lead off the fifth and scored on a fielder's choice to give the Lions an insurance run. The Wildcats never threatened until the sixth, and McMahan made a diving catch at third to give SSHS one last shot in the seventh.
The Wildcats played solid defense for the most part, committing only three errors on the day. There were some nice plays made, including McMahan's, including an over-the-shoulder catch from first baseman Ryan Allison and a couple of plays up the middle from Riley.
Longview Pine Tree 2, Sulphur Springs 1
The Pirates scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to ruin what otherwise was a solid outing for Wildcat starter Zach Adair.
Adair seemed well on his way toward his team-leading third win, before Jason Avery walked and Brian Patterson reached on a questionable infield single. Trace Wohlfahrt's RBI grounder to second scored Avery, while Jake Meador's sacrifice fly to left allowed the winning run to cross.
McMahan (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing one earned run in the seventh. Adair gave up only two hits in five innings with four walks and two strikeouts.
Logan Pogue doubled to lead off the fourth and scored on Riley Tatum's RBI single to right. Adair got out of a jam in the bottom half of the inning, striking out two straight batters looking, leaving runners on second and third.
It would be easy to second-guess himself, but Smith said he has no regrets taking Adair out of the game.
"Zach was showing his usual signs of tiring," Smith said. "He threw four straight balls, and his arms and legs weren't in it. He couldn't find the zone, and we couldn't take the chance of walking another batter. It didn't end up working out, but I thought it was the right decision at the time."
Scroggins was 2-for-3, getting hits from both sides of the plate and was 4-for-5 in the first two games, but the Wildcats didn't help their cause, leaving eight men on base.
Rockwall 14, Sulphur Springs 1
The Class 5A No. 2 Yellow Jackets scored seven runs in the first, two in the second and three more in the third on their way to a four-inning win.
Tatum was hit by a pitch to start the fourth and scored on Scroggins' RBI double to left-center.
Notes: Rockwall has a plethora of talent on its roster, including Division I signees in catcher Preston Clark (Texas) and pitcher Derek Verhagen (Arizona). ... Two University of Alabama assistant coaches were in attendance to watch junior shortstop Graham Martin. ... The coaches had to leave early with a game at Louisiana Tech but received a phone call when Watson homered in the fourth inning. ...Smith can't be pleased that his team went winless in three tries but feels the performance against Class 4A's top-ranked squad was something to build on. ...He pointed to the team's composure and the fact that none of the 11 strikeout victims let their emotions get the best of them by throwing a bat or helmet. ...Sulphur Springs and Henderson have gone a combined 14 games without hitting a home run. ...They meet again March 23 in the final game before District 11-4A play starts with a two-game road trip to Denison and Sherman.