Wildcats come from behind to remain unbeaten
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 19, 2006 - Grand Prairie Red was three outs away from advancing as the only unbeaten team in the winners' bracket of the Dixie AA 7-8-year-old Coach Pitch State Tournament on Tuesday.

The Sulphur Springs Wildcats never let them get any closer than that.

The Wildcats scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth without making an out to stun Grand Prairie, 6-5, at Coleman Park.

Sulphur Springs scored three runs in the first inning, but had not been able to push across another tally until their final at-bat. During that time, GP Red had used a four-run second inning and a one-run third to take a 5-3 lead heading into the Wildcats' final half-inning.

The victory sets Sulphur Springs up as the only unbeaten team in the 12-team field, which has now been whittled down to four remaining teams. Sulphur Springs (3-0) will play Pittsburg (3-1) at 7:30 p.m. today on Field 4. In the early game, Grand Prairie (3-1) will take on Broken Bow (3-1) at 6 p.m. - the loser of that game is eliminated.

If Sulphur Springs beats Pittsburg, then Pittsburg is eliminated. If Pittsburg wins, then there will be a three-way tie between SS, Pittsburg and the GP Red/Broken Bow winner. In that case, the teams will flip a coin to determine who gets a bye into the championship game on Thursday. Because the Wildcats have played fewer games than the other teams, they would not get the bye.

If the Wildcats continue playing like they have in the first three games, they won't have to worry about flipping a coin.

The sixth inning was the most dramatic for the Wildcats. Down by two runs, they tied the game after the first two batters.

Cason Crawford reached on a throwing error that allowed him to go to second base. Tanner Ramirez then hit a long single to right field that drove in Crawford. Ramirez went to second on the throw home and came all the way around to score on another throwing error.

Just like that, the Wildcats had tied the game at 5-5.

Still with no outs, Garrett Jones reached on an infield single and went to second on Cody Fite's single to left. Brandon Foster then hit a bouncer past the shortstop, driving in Jones for the winning run.

The Wildcats were able to keep the game close by using outstanding defense over the last four innings. In the third, Grand Prairie Red scored one run, but stranded two runners after Ramirez at shortstop went into shallow left field to catch a pop fly, and Fite made a nice catch of a fly ball in right center field.

Then, in the fifth, Foster caught a line drive hit to him in left. In the top of the sixth, Crawford came off the mound to field a ball between third and short and fired to first for one out, and Michael Crocker made the final out with a grab of a fly ball in left center.

Grand Prairie Red also made some nice defensive plays, including three catches by Jordan Humphrey in left center.

The way the game started, it looked like it wouldn't need to come down to a late-inning rally.

After holding GP Red scoreless in the top of the first, Sulphur Springs grabbed a three-run lead in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Logan Merrell and Crawford both singled. Ramirez drove home one run with an infield grounder and then Jones singled to right field to plate the other two runs.

But, GP Red took the lead in the top of the second on RBI by Michael Gonzalez, Gage Grigsby and Tomas Ibanez.

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