Wildcats split games in Longview tournament
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

March 4, 2006 - LONGVIEW - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats battled through adversity and injuries Friday night in the second day of pool play at the Oil Belt Classic at Pine Tree's Field of Dreams.

The Wildcats lost Game 1, 6-5, on a seventh inning rally by Pine Tree and then bounced back in Game 2 with a 4-1 victory over Liberty-Eylau.

"What I told our guys is that sports is a lot like life and baseball to me is even more so because it is a long season and you have a lot of opportunities for failure and you are going to get knocked down and you have a choice to stay there or get up," said first-year coach Jerrod Hammack.

"I was really proud of the guys because the first game was disheartening for all of us and it was killing me to get to the next game. We didn't whine about it and we didn't come out and play and we beat a good ball-club."

Sulphur Springs (3-3) wraps up the tournament today at 12:30 p.m. against the No. 3 seed from pool "A" play at Kilgore's Driller Park.


Game 1 

Pine Tree 6, SSHS 5

After giving up three runs in the first inning, senior Jake Broumley retired 12 of the next 14 batters before Pine Tree's Jeff Thompson nailed a home-run to left-field for a 4-2 lead.

Sulphur Springs battled back in the top of the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead as Scott Stewart opened the inning with a strikeout, followed by a double from Jayden Spencer and a RBI-single by Tyler Rhoades, Blake Wells then struck-out and Rhoades reached second on a stolen base. Colby Mills then drove in Rhoades with an RBI-single and Broumley cleared the bases with an RBI-triple for the 5-4 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Hammack went back to Broumley and he walked Matt Hughes and Ryan Bennett. Hammack then went to senior Blake Wells and on the first pitch Austin Howe nailed a line-drive right on the arm of Wells, who was immediately taken out of the game with an injury and Alex Aguilar was brought in with the bases loaded.

"Pine Tree is a good ball-club and we didn't do real well at the first because Jake gave up three runs in the first inning. He settled down and I thought he threw a great game but I think he just ran out of gas in the seventh," the coach said. "I wanted to save Blake for the second game but we had to bring him in and then he gets hit right away and can't pitch the second game."

On their next at bat, Aguilar got Zane Hendon to hit in a fielder's choice as Aguilar threw to Stewart to tag out Hughes from third and then Thompson drove in Bennett on an RBI-single to tie the game at 5-5. After a strikeout by Landon Kids, Aguilar walked Jessie Strong as Austin Howe scored the game-winning run for the 6-5 victory.

Broumley went six innings and gave up four runs on two hits with five walks and eight strikeouts. He also went 1-for-4 at the plate, while teammate Colby Mills went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Thompson was the leading batter for Pine Tree going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, while Bennett was credited with the win pitching one inning of one-hit baseball.


Game 2

SSHS 4, Liberty-Eylau 1

After the injury to Wells forced Hammack to start Jayden Spencer at pitcher, Spencer did not disappoint as he threw a complete-game three hitter with six walks and six strikeouts in his first game since scrimmage action.

"I will be honest he (Jayden) showed me a lot and I knew he had a good curve-ball," Hammack said. "He hasn't thrown since a scrimmage and I thought he did a tremendous job and he may have made a statement for the No. 2 or 3 starter. It is good to have that problem and I couldn't tell you my No. 2 through 4 starters at this point."

SSHS jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning as Spencer was hit by a Eric Wells pitch to start the inning and then Tyler Rhoades nailed a single to move Spencer to third. Spencer then scored on an error by the third baseman and following an RBI-sacrifice fly by Bailey Potts which scored Rhoades, Colby Strain smacked a solo home-run for the 3-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth inning, Mills capped off the Wildcats scoring with a solo home-run to left field for a 4-0 lead.

Hammack said the Wildcat's found a way to capitalize in game 2 against a good ball-club. 

"Liberty-Eylau will be in the playoffs and there is no question in my mind about that," the coach said. "We went on and showed what we were made of and battled through some adversity and picked up a win."

Spencer had only given up one hit until the bottom of the seventh inning as Keith Allen smacked a triple and then Will Middlebrooks drove him in with an RBI-single for the 4-1 final.

Mills was the leading batter for the Wildcats going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Josh Riley and Stewart went 1-for-2 respectively in the game.

Liberty-Eylau was led by Middlebrook's as he went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI. Wells took the loss going five innings while giving up four runs on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

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