|Sherman used big inning to whip Wildcats|
|Tyler Clifton | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
March 31, 2004 -- SHERMAN -- Sulphur Springs and Sherman both entered Tuesday night's contest having lost their first district game, and although it's early, there was still quite a bit at stake.
Trey Carter doubled to right-center field to plate two runs, as the Bearcats used an 11-run fourth inning and turned a two-run deficit into a 14-4 win to improve to .500 in District 11-4A play.
Tyler Huntsman scattered three hits over five innings, walking three and striking out seven. He pitched around a Casey McMahan double in the first by striking out the side.
The Wildcats (7-10-1, 0-2) had their second straight errorless game but were unable to avoid the big inning, and until they do, it could be the beginning of a rough ride.
"Alex (Aguilar) did a good job until the fourth, when a pop-up bunt goes over our head and leads to a big inning," SSHS head coach Rahn Smith said. "We didn't get a couple of close calls on third strike, and one thing leads to another. Things seemed to snowball from there.
"When I take our starter out, I need someone who's capable of coming in and shutting the other team down, and we didn't have that. The big inning is what has killed us the past few games, and we must stop that from happening if we want to win."
Aguilar (1-3), who was pressed into action after projected starter Zach Adair cut his pitching hand Friday, pitched three solid innings before running into trouble in the fourth.
Sherman's Trent Moore singled on a pop-up behind the first base bag that bounced off the tip of Josh Riley's glove. Michael Cowart turned a simple sacrifice bunt into a base hit, as he poked the ball over McMahan's head. Geoff Kring had a carbon-copy bunt of his own to load the bases and begin what turned into a nightmarish inning for the Wildcats.
Aguilar was unable to overcome the bad luck and walked home two runs, forcing Smith to bring in Ben Whillock.
Whillock didn't fare much better, walking three of the first four batters he faced, and Justin Aleman scored on Moore's second hit of the inning for a 7-3 lead. Whillock hit Cowart on the next pitch, and Smith replaced him with McMahan.
The floodgates opened, as Kring got his second hit of the inning, driving McMahan's first pitch past third baseman Ryan Allison into the left-field corner, scoring Zach Ray and Carter. Huntsman drove home two runs for good measure with a single to left and a 12-4 lead after four.
"They got their fair share of bloop hits, but the two walks were what really got to me," Aguilar said. "I was ready to go but had too many walks and for some reason couldn't hit my spots in the fourth inning. Call it bad luck, I don't know."
SSHS tried to chip away at the deficit in the fifth, as Adam Peugh walked and scored on an error, but two Wildcat baserunners were left on base, and Sherman scored the winning runs in the bottom half off Adair, who was forced into the game, injury and all.
"We were due to bust out at some point," said SHS first-year head coach Gary Cosper, whose team had a similar inning in its 11-1 loss at McKinney North Friday. "It was good to see the kids swing the bats, because we haven't done that very well lately.
"This was a big game for both teams, particularly us since we were at home. All three home teams won their openers, but anyone can win in this district, so I don't want our kids to get too full of themselves."
Ray doubled to left-center in the second and easily scored on Kring's single for a 1-0 lead.
SSHS answered with three runs in the third, two of them unearned. Kason Scroggins and Zack Wilhite reached on back-to-back singles. Smith swung and missed on an attempted hit-and-run, and Carter's errant throw trying to get Scroggins out at third allowed the Wildcat designated hitter to score and tie the game.
Sam Smith walked, and Peugh reached on an error to load the bases, when Pogue drove Wilhite home with a fielder's choice, as the Bearcats (12-7, 1-1) were unable to turn a double play.
"We're only two games in, so we're not out of it," Smith said. "If we win Friday (against Greenville), and the other games go according to form, then we could be tied for third place."
The Wildcats host the Lions Friday for their district home opener, while Sherman travels to Paris.