Coach pitch team faces first loss at state tournament
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 20, 2006 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats had won two games in the Dixie AA 7-8-year-old Coach Pitch State Tournament in their final at-bat. They gave it their best shot again on Wednesday.

The Wildcats scored three times in the final inning and had the tying run at the plate when the last out was made in their 8-5 loss to Pittsburg at Coleman Park.

Pittsburg mounted a seven-run fifth inning, capitalizing on rare Sulphur Springs errors to avoid elimination.

In the early game on Wednesday, Broken Bow defeated Grand Prairie Red, 12-4, to advance to a semifinal match-up with Sulphur Springs at 6 p.m. today on Field 4. The winner advances to meet Pittsburg in the championship game at 8 p.m.

Because all three remaining teams have one loss, they flipped a coin to determine who would get a bye into the championship game. Pittsburg won the coin toss.

The Wildcats went into Wednesday's game needing two victories to claim a state championship. They will have a chance to get both wins tonight.

On Wednesday, it appeared that an RBI double by Hunter Powell and a sacrifice fly by Cole Cooper, which gave Sulphur Springs a 2-0 lead in the third inning, might be enough for the Wildcats to stay unbeaten in the tournament.

But, Pittsburg pushed across one run in the fourth inning, then sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth inning, scoring the maximum seven runs.

The first three batters in the frame all reached on errors - unusual considering Sulphur Springs had committed just two errors leading up to that point - then Pittsburg added an RBI ground-rule double by Jace Wood, an run-scoring single by Mark Torres and a two-run homer over the left field fence by Gabriel Peters.

Down by an 8-2 count, the Wildcats got their own rally going in the top of the sixth. With one out, Powell reached on his second hit of the game and Cooper followed with a single. Cason Crawford singled home one run to left, Tanner Ramirez drove in another run with a line drive off the right fielder's glove, and Garrett Jones' single up the middle plated another run to make the score 8-5.

But, Pittsburg recorded the final out on a pop fly to hold on to the victory.

The game was full of nifty plays. For the second consecutive game, Ramirez went from shortstop into shallow left field to make a running catch of a pop fly, center fielder Michael Crocker - who scored the Wildcats' first run - also wiped out a would-be single by throwing out a runner at second in the first inning. Tristan Goodson grabbed a foul pop at catcher, and Crawford caught three pop-ups at pitcher and threw out four other runners after fielding ground balls.

For Pittsburg, second baseman Jace Wood completed a double play by tagging the runner and throwing on to first in the second inning.

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