SSHS home opener spoiled by Forney
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

March 9, 2005 - The first home game of the season for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats was cut a little short against the Forney Jackrabbits at Eagle Stadium Tuesday night.

A nine-run third inning sparked the Jackrabbits (9-0) to a 13-2 win over the Wildcats (5-4) in five innings as senior Zach Adair fell to 1-2 on the mound this season.

"This is a crucial point in the season right now, and we need to be able to turn the corner and start playing well defensively," SSHS head coach Rahn Smith said. "We have lost our confidence defensively right now and we are going to ground-ball them to death in practice and hopefully that will give them confidence to play a little better."

SSHS will travel to Jacksonville Friday night to face the Indians in a 7 p.m. start, and Smith said the team needs to get their confidence back and relax during the game.

"The key thing that we need to work on right now is confidence because these guys have ability, but they don't trust their ability right now," the coach said. "We got guys that are pressing at the plate and in the field. We need to figure out a way to right the ship on defense because we get behind and we are not a play-from-behind team."

Forney jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning, all on unearned runs, as Jason Beene, Michael Hallam, Justin Bryant and Drew Kendrick scored on miscues by catcher Scott Stewart.

"It is kind of a deal right now where one error is leading to another one for us, Smith said. "We are not stopping the bleeding when something is happening and we need to stay away from the big innings."

The big inning occurred in the third inning for the Jackrabbits.

After a two-run RBI single by Josh Riley sent in Colby Mills and Brian Shurtleff to cut the deficit to 4-2, Forney batted through the line-up in the top of the third inning to take a 13-2 lead.

"We were right back in the game after the second inning, and we just needed to go out and put a zero on the board and we weren't able to do that with the walks and the errors that are hurting us pretty bad right now," the coach said.

Every Jackrabbit player scored in the third inning and Beene smacked a three-run home run off of reliever Casey McMahan, who gave up five runs on four hits and struck out one in 2 2/3 innings.

"You can't give a good team like Forney extra outs because our pitcher thinks that he has to strike everybody out because the guys are not making the plays behind him and so it is kind of a one thing leads to another water-fall type effect and everything is running down hill right now," Smith said.

Adair took the loss on the mound giving up eight runs on five hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings for the Wildcats.

Beene went 2-for-3 for the Jackrabbits with two runs scored and three RBI. He also had two stolen bases and a walk in the game.

Justin Krause picked up the win for Forney going four innings while giving up seven hits, two runs and striking out four batters. Teammate Justin Parker came on in relief in the fifth inning and gave up one hit to Stewart.

Riley led the way at the plate for the Wildcats going 2-for-3 with two RBI while teammate Jayden Spencer went 2-for-2 with two singles.

"They need to relax and have fun because there is a lot of expectations for this team, and they are putting a lot of pressure on themselves and it seems like they are not having fun on the field," Smith said. "We need to find a way to get them back to having fun and getting the kids to start trusting in their ability during the game."

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