Wildcats wrap up pre-district play with win, prepare for district
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

March 23, 2005 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats used a dominating pitching performance by Alex Aguilar to pick up win No. 9 in their pre-district finale at Eagle Stadium Tuesday night against the West Mesquite Wranglers.

Aguilar pitched a complete-game four hitter, striking out nine batters in a 2-0 win, and coach Rahn Smith believes Aguilar was able to find his spots on the hill for the Wildcats.

"Alex threw a great game on the hill and was able to keep the ball down and find his spots. I think they only hit a couple of balls hard and we were able to give help behind him," Smith said.

The Wildcats (9-5-1) will begin district play Thursday night at Paris with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, junior Josh Riley put Sulphur Springs on the board with a solo home run off West Mesquite starter Manny Azcona for a 1-0 lead.

"Josh is pretty consistent, and he swings the bat well and every time he is up there is a chance that something good is going to happen," the coach said. "He has been struggling a little bit with hitting, and I am glad that he had a little bit of success tonight."

With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Tyler Rhoades came in to hit for Colby Mills, who was playing for the first time since suffering an injury in the Corsicana tournament, and had an RBI fielder's choice to drive in Brian Shurtleff from second for the insurance run and the 2-0 finale.

Riley led the way for Sulphur Springs going 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored, and classmates Kason Scroggins, Shurtleff and Bailey Potts went 1-for-2 for the Wildcats.

Nathan Shattuck went 2-for-2 against Aguilar with two singles, and teammates Robert Herndon and Manny Azcona went 1-for-3 in the loss.

Azcona took the loss on the mound pitching a complete-game four hitter, striking out four and walking one batter with two earned runs in the ball game.

"That was exactly the type of win we needed going into district. We didn't score a lot of runs, but we played well. The biggest thing was our pitching and our defense tonight," Smith said. "The defense had been worrying me all year, and going into district after playing a game like that is pretty exciting to me."

Zach Adair looks to get the Wildcats in early control of the district standings, as he will be on the hill against Paris for the district opener.

"Hopefully Zach is going to throw well for us, and Zach needs to keep the ball down. He has turned into a really good pitcher for us this year and we haven"t given him much support in his previous starts," Smith said.

"His change-up and curveball are working well for him, and if he is able to find his spots he will have some success. Hopefully, we can give him some runs to work with and come out early and that should give him confidence."

Smith said the team's confidence looks to be coming together and that the Wildcats need to be ready for Paris, as they are sitting at two games above .500 right now on the season.

"Right now it is just confidence, and the win is going to be real good for us with the defense that we played," the coach said. "Paris is a good team, and they are young like we are and they are talented. So, every game in district is going to be a toss up."

Smith said the pre-district schedule was one that the team should be proud of as they wrapped up 9-5-1 and said the schedule was very tough for them this first half of the year.

"We played a really, really tough pre-district schedule, and I noticed that four out of five of our losses were against ranked opponents," Smith said. "All of those games that we played and lost we had a chance in. I am real satisfied with the way that we played."

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