|More than just Numbers: Spencer, McMahan looking for district championship|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
March 31, 2006 - Sulphur Springs seniors Casey McMahan and Jayden Spencer are in the top five percent in batting average, hits, runs and at-bats for the Wildcats - but neither player pays much attention to those numbers.
They just want the wins and a possible district championship.
"I would like to win state, but for sure a district championship and get a few rounds deep in the playoffs," said four-year varsity letterman McMahan, the song of James and Karen McMahan.
Spencer agreed with McMahan and said he doesn't think about their next game too far in advance.
"I am hoping for a district championship and I think we have a really good chance of winning," two-year varsity letterman Spencer said. "We are going to just take it one series at a time and hopefully we can go far this year."
Spencer is the son of Alan and Jan Spencer and said being in the lead-off position this year has helped his confidence rather than being in the No. 6 hole in the lineup.
"I would prefer to be in the lead-off because I like to start off the game and I feel real comfortable there this season," he said.
Spencer currently leads the team in hit by pitches (9), ERA (0.58) and is tied with McMahan in batting average at .426 for the season.
"I am trying to keep my confidence up each time I am at bat and have the same approach at bat and do the same thing every time," he said. "I am up real close to the plate and if they throw one inside I just let it hit me and get on base. With pitching, I told the coach that I wanted to help out with the pitching, and if I could help then I would like to do that."
He is currently the starting centerfielder for the Wildcats and gave a lot of his defensive credit to assistant coach Larry Sherman.
"Coach Sherman has helped us in the outfield and has made sure that we do the little things right if we have a routine fly ball and make sure that we get behind the ball and make sure everything is the right way," he said.
For McMahan, a key statistical category has been the sacrifices he has been credited with and especially during the first two district games.
"In the Paris game especially, and then early in the season, that was pretty much what I needed to do to get the runs in and I am not too worried about my average," he said.
McMahan is averaging .667 in district and is 2-of-3 with four RBI and three sacrifices in two games in the clean-up spot.
He said Texas High will be another tough game this year and facing a familiar pitcher at Greenville will be difficult tonight.
"T-High is going to be tough and they are 2-0 also in district and they beat us both times last year, so we need to beat them," McMahan said. "Greenville is going to be tough with Bradley Espino on the mound against us. They are going to hit the ball hard and we need to play some defense and score some runs and have a lot of sacrifices and bunts."
Even with the Wildcats being road-tested this year, McMahan knows what really needs to happen during these games.
"We have played so many games on the road this year that we are basically used to it and we are good on the road," he said. "We need to come out and pound the ball and not make any errors."
Spencer said the next three games on the schedule will show how the Wildcats will do in the stretch run of district play.
"We are off to a good start and we had a big win already and Greenville is going to be tough along with Texas High and North Lamar," he said. "We have to play as good as we can and I think we can come out with a win against all three of them."
With 13 seniors on their 18-member squad, Spencer said the experience will play a big role in a possible playoff run.
"I would say that it is and experience is a big key since we played last year and it is all the same people except for three people," Spencer said. "We have some really good players and half of these guys that aren't starting would be starting on most of the teams in our district so if somebody messes up, we have someone who can fill their spot."