National Wildcats return to Dixie State tournament
From Staff Reports

July 7, 2006 - HONEY GROVE - A year after claiming a state baseball championship, the Sulphur Springs National Wildcats earned a return trip to the Dixie state tournament on Thursday by winning the District 5 title for 9-and-under boys.

Many of the Wildcats were members of the 7-8-year-old coach pitch team that won the championship last year.

Last night, they swept through the district tournament with a 4-0 record by whipping Paris American, 16-2.

The next stop for the Wildcats is the state tournament in Splendora (outside of Houston). The tournament begins on Saturday July 15, and Sulphur Springs' first test will come against Van Alstyne at 7:30 that night.

Championship Game

SS Nationals 16, Paris American 2

Sulphur Springs started off aggressively at the plate, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. C.J. Stephens, Cain Cody and Hunter Coleman started the game with three straight singles, with Coleman's hit driving in  Stephens. Kade Hudgins drew a walk to load the bases, and then Will Sant scored Cody on a fielder’s choice. Coleman and Hudgins later scored on passed balls.

Paris held Sulphur Springs scoreless in the second and third innings and scored two runs in the bottom of the third on a fielder's choice and a wild pitch by Cody to close the margin to 4-2. 

 The Wildcats rallied back in the top of the fourth with seven runs that put the game out of reach. 

Tyler Williams, Darrin Pennington and Ben Brooks drew three straight walks to load the bases, setting up Zachary Terry, who drove in Williams with a fielder’s choice.  Alejandro Rosales drew a walk to load the bases again, and then Carter White was hit by a pitch to scored Pennington.

Cody followed with a single to score Brooks, followed by two-run single by Coleman that plated Rosales and White. Hudgins and Sant both hit into fielder’s choices that drove in Cody and Coleman to make the score 11-2.

In the top of the fifth, Terry got things started again with a single, then stole second and third and scored off an infield grounder by Rosales. White drew a walk, followed by a single up the middle by Stephens. Cody then cleared the bases with an inside-the-park home run to right field. Hudgins immediately followed with a triple down the right field line and scored the 16th run on a passed ball.

The Sulphur Springs pitching staff recorded another strong performance that included a scoreless first and second by Hudgins. Cody gave up two in the third, but retired the side in the fourth, and then Coleman extended his scoreless streak to four games when he pitched a scoreless fifth.

During the tournament, the Sulphur Springs Nationals outscored their opponents 35-5, hitting for a combined .446 team average and a .573 on-base percentage.

SS Nationals 5, Paris Continental 0

On Wednesday, the Wildcats gave up just one hit as three pitchers combined to face just one batter over the minimum.

Coleman extended his scoreless streak to three games, pitching two innings of shutout ball, facing the minimum six batters with two strikeouts and four defensive putouts. Stephens threw the next two innings, facing just seven batters, fanning two and giving up a ground ball single past second base to Levi Shelter.

Cody then closed out the fifth, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

The Wildcats got on the scoreboard early when Cody and Coleman hit back-to-back singles to center field. Cody then stole third and scored when the throw went into left field. Sant followed with an RBI single, and Williams was hit by a pitch. Pennington made the score 3-0 when he lined a single to the left field gap to drive in Sant.

Brooks gave the Wildcats a 4-0 lead with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Williams.

In the second inning, Rosales and White led off the inning with consecutive singles, but were stranded when Paris retired the next three batters.

Hudgins led off the third with a double to right field, stole third, then scored the fifth and final run on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Pennington.

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