|District 12-4A playoff seeding is on the line in finale|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
April 29, 2005 - In the closely bunched District 12-4A baseball season, one team is fighting for a district championship while the other is fighting for respect in the regular season finale.
The Sulphur Springs Wildcats (16-8-1 overall, 6-3 in district) are one game back of the Paris Wildcats (15-10, 7-2) in the district standings as SSHS travels to North Lamar and Paris plays at Greenville tonight. Game time is 7 p.m.
A Paris loss coupled with a Sulphur Springs win would set up a playoff for the district championship as both teams would be tied with 7-3 records.
The three teams that are allowed to represent 12-4A are set as Paris, Sulphur Springs and Texas High are in the playoffs, but the Wildcats could become the No. 3 seed in the district with a loss to North Lamar and a Texas High win over Mount Pleasant.
If the Wildcats lose tonight and Texas High (5-4) beats Mount Pleasant, the Tigers will take second place due to the tie-breaker situation as Texas High beat SSHS both games during the regular season.
The Wildcats know how big tonight's game is in terms of a playoff seeding, and coach Rahn Smith said run support will play a major role in the success of pitcher Alex Aguilar, who will start on the mound.
"We have to go in and be focused and be into the game from the very start," Smith said. "We need to get a couple of runs in the first couple of innings and get things going.
"We need to play good defense and have good pitching from Alex tonight, and we need to do what it takes offensively to get the runs in at the plate."
North Lamar's playoff hopes were dashed Tuesday night against Paris in the bottom of the seventh inning when Paris' Jon Marc Rea doubled and scored the winning run on a North Lamar error for a 4-3 come-from-behind win.
The Panthers are looking to even their district record at 5-5 to end the season, and with a win would have revenge on the Wildcats after a 6-3 Sulphur Springs win earlier in the season at Eagle Stadium.
Aguilar will take an 8-0 record this season into tonight's game. He has given up 56 hits and 24 earned runs in 67 innings this season. He has also walked 38 batters.