|Wildcats win shootout at North Lamar|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
April 8, 2006 - PARIS - The never-say-die Sulphur Springs Wildcats extended their winning streak to seven games Friday night at Pos Long Field - but first-year coach Jerrod Hammack was not pleased.
"It was an ugly game, and I just told them that our defense was atrocious and they shouldn't have scored the four runs in the third because we made two miscues, and they shouldn't have even been on base," he said.
The Wildcats won, 18-16, as they scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning off North Lamar reliever John Faulkner.
Senior Josh Riley once again led the Wildcats at the plate going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and six RBI. He nailed a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, scoring Jayden Spencer and Jake Broumley.
Teammates Scott Stewart and Jake North went 2-for-4 in the game, while Spencer went 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Blake Wells also went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Wells picked up the win in relief of starter Chance Massey, scattering nine hits and seven runs - five earned - in four innings for the Wildcats. Massey went three innings, giving up six hits and one walk while striking out two batters.
"Chance did not work ahead of hitters like he normally does," the coach said. "He wasn't able to get his curve ball over for a strike and Blake came in and did a decent job in relief."
Hammack said on North Lamar's grand-slam home run by Justin Miller in the bottom of the second inning, there was no way for the Wildcats to get around him since the bases were loaded. Miller hit the grand-slam off Massey over the right field wall after Faulkner scored the first run on an error.
"That is the one hitter (Miller) who I knew you couldn't pitch to, but we had the bases loaded and so we couldn't get around him," Hammack said.
Miller went 2-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored for the Panthers. He also had a triple in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With six Sulphur Springs errors in the game, Hammack said this was one of the worst defensive performances he has seen all season and he hopes for a change before Tuesday's game at Paris. North Lamar committed five errors.
"Defensively, we were as bad as we have ever been and champions find ways to just overcome everything. These guys had tremendous character to find ways to win," the coach said. "We weren't helping either pitcher defensively, but we definitely were offensively and found a way to win."
North Lamar took a 15-11 lead in the bottom of the fifth as Aaron Bell reached on an error, Kyle Eatherly struck out, Colt Holbert reached on a single and then reached second on a throwing error from Jake Broumley that scored Bell as the ball went into the dugout. Miller then drove in Holbert with a triple.
The Wildcats now have one player batting over .600 in district play as Riley is batting .647 with 13 RBI with six runs scored in five games. Alex Aguilar is the only player at .500, two players are at .400 or better and five others are batting .300 or better in district play.
Hammack said for the Wildcats to be at 10-0 this year, they need to take every game one pitch at a time.
"You got to take it one game at a time and 10-0 in district is a distant goal and it will be difficult," the coach said. "We are capable of doing it, but you have to play pitch-by-pitch and game-by-game and do what it takes to win."
SSHS (16-5 overall, 5-0 in District 12-4A) heads into the second round of district Tuesday night against the Paris Wildcats - a game in which Sulphur Springs won 4-3 back on March 28. The start time for this game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Hub Hollis Field.
"It is going to be a tough place to play and on the road you have to be better and they are battling for a playoff spot and they are going to know that they need to win," Hammack said. "We will go with Jake Broumley Tuesday night against Paris and then we will have three guys to throw against Mount Pleasant and hopefully we can get out of there with a win and get Alex healthy."
SSHS 12, North Lamar 8
PARIS - SSHS catcher Josh Dunn recorded two triples off Paris pitching as the time was called in the fourth inning of play to end the contest.
Dunn went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored, while teammate Ladarius Harrison also went 2-for-3 with one run scored. Kevin Mabe and Brandon Whittle each went 2-for-2 and combined to score four runs.
Coach Tristan Abron used pitchers Whittle, Bobby Brantley and Mabe in the victory and said early on Paris figured out his pitching staff.
"They picked up on Whittle's speed and they started putting it into play. I put my left-hander in to try and throw them off a little bit, but they kept putting it into play," the coach said. "Even though we only needed one out, I had to put my closer in to get the job done."