District title at stake tonight
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

April 25, 2006 - With two games remaining in the regular season, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats could wrap up the District 12-4A baseball championship tonight at Tiger Field.

But it won't be easy.

The Wildcats (19-5, 8-0) will take on the second-place Texas High Tigers (18-6, 7-1) - who are only a game back in the district standings - at 7 p.m. in Texarkana.

"It is probably the biggest game that these kids have ever played in high school baseball. This is what you play they game for and the competition is what it is all about," said SSHS first-year coach Jerrod Hammack.

"It is not going to get any better than it is tonight playing a very good ball club with a lot of speed, and they hit the ball well and they carry themselves in a great manner."

The Wildcats hope last year's scenario doesn't repeat itself as there is a 30 percent chance of rain tonight in Texarkana. 

"I don't think that will play a factor and I have heard about last year and it seems unfair. The way to counter that is to take care of your business early and lead into the fifth and the rain won't hurt you at all," Hammack said.

In last year's game, a rain delay, lightning delay and finally a weather cancellation turned what looked to be a district win into a their second loss.

SSHS led 11-10 in the top of the seventh inning before the lightning delay occurred, and eventually the game was reverted back to the last completed inning with Texas High leading 9-8 after six frames.

Wildcats senior ace Alex Aguilar will return to the mound at Tiger Field - as he was the losing pitcher last year -  and Hammack said Aguilar is returning to his style of pitching.

"He is working to get back into the groove and I think he only walked one or two batters the whole season. He is getting back to the standards that he has for himself and that we have for him," the coach said.

"I look for him to throw a complete game. He wants to be on the mound and we have plenty of guys that can come in if he gets in trouble. He is the best in this district on the mound and obviously we will be better with him out there."

The Wildcats also found out some tough news over the weekend and for the second time this season junior Colby Mills will be out of the lineup. 

This time, Mills will be out for the remainder of the season after suffering an injury during their game against Greenville Friday night.

"It is unfortunate and with Colby in the lineup we are a better team and he is a great talent," Hammack said. "I think we are 10-2 when he is out of the lineup and these guys respond to whatever comes their way and they will fill the slot and perform and get the job done."

Hammack has set the outfield for tonight's game and is still working on the lineup with the change affecting Mills.

"Jake North will move to left, Jake Broumley will go to right and Jayden Spencer will be in center, and then we will have Clay Wilks be the DH again," he said. "As far as the batting order, I will look at it because I just found out the information on Colby 10 minutes ago."

Hammack said after giving Texas High a 6-5 loss earlier in the season, clinching the district championship tonight will be worth it before having Senior Night festivities Friday night against North Lamar.

"I think this is important for sure and then we can relax," Hammack said. "These kids have paid the price with the 6 a.m. weight workouts and they deserve to be the district champions. It would be great to clinch it tonight."

Directions - The school is on 4241 Summerhill Road. Take I-30 East to the Summerhill exit (Exit 222). Take a right, and at the first light past the school take a right and turn into the back side of the school and follow it to the baseball field.

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