Wildcats to face Mesquite Poteet in opening round
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

May 5, 2005 - Rahn Smith knows one thing for sure about the Class 4A, Region II playoffs - it definitely won't be an easy ride.

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats (17-8-1 overall) open up the bi-district round of the playoffs tomorrow night against the Mesquite Poteet Pirates (16-12 overall) with a possible area round matchup against McKinney North scheduled for next week.

The best two-out-of-three series begins at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Eagle Stadium, followed by game two in Mesquite at 3 p.m. Saturday, and game three, if necessary, an hour after the conclusion of game two.

"We have got to prepare for them a little differently than our district opponents," said Smith, SSHS head coach. "Their strength is their pitching, and they have a very, very good pitching staff . Their strength is not their hitting, but it is kind of hard to tell looking at their stats."

Poteet finished third in District 11-4A behind Highland Park and Forney after losing a showdown to Forney as both teams were tied with 6-4 records at the end of the regular season. Highland Park (10-0) won that district.

The Pirates are led by Anthony Arietta with a .305 batting average (25-of-82) with 12 RBI and six stolen bases, which is second on the team behind teammate Brock Hesse with 10 on the season.

"I know just by watching them that they are a very solid team, and I don't think it is going to be like one of our district games where the score is 9-7 or something like that, but it could come down to a run or two," the coach said. "Both teams have got to play good defensively, and I think the team that makes the fewest defensive mistakes is probably going to win."

Sulphur Springs comes into the series as the runner-up in District 12-4A behind the Paris Wildcats, who received a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

Smith said the team's confidence is high right now after the 17-4 thumping over North Lamar in the regular season finale, and the Wildcats are going to make the most out of the playoff atmosphere this year.

"They have a lot of confidence right now and the whole playoff system is just a reward for the work they have put in since the fall. We have got to approach it with intensity, but also just enjoy the extra week of playing baseball," the coach said.

The pitching duo of junior Alex Aguilar and senior Zach Adair will look to control a talented Poteet team in game one as Smith did not have the starter set as of press time

"The game one starter is kind of up in the air right now, but it probably will be between Alex and Zach because Alex's arm has been hurting him a little bit during the past week," Smith said.

The Poteet pitching staff is one area Smith said concerned him because of the talent they have as four pitchers have an ERA under 4.009, led by Ricky Testa with a 1.75 ERA in 52 innings this season. He has 61 strikeouts and 19 walks.

"I don't believe with the pitching staff that they have that we can give up too many runs during this series and be able to pull out the victories," Smith said.

Sulphur Springs will look toward Josh Riley, Colby Mills and Kason Scroggins to continue hitting the ball well during the playoffs as the trio was the top three in terms of average this year.

Riley led the way with a .479 batting average, Mills went .404, and Scroggins went .359 at the plate for the Wildcats during the regular season.

"You expect the three that have been consistent throughout the year to continue to be that way, but they wouldn't have been able to do that without the help of the bottom of the order," Smith said. "We are going to need them to get on base during this series to be successful against Poteet."

Directions - To get to the Poteet field, take Interstate 30 west to Mesquite and take the Galloway exit. Turn left and cross over the interstate. Stay on Galloway for about two miles. Poteet High School is on the left, and the park is behind the school.

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