Wildcats ready for warm-up games
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

May 1, 2006 - After sweeping through the District 12-4A season and having a 12-game winning streak, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats head into their bye week with two quality warm-up games this week.

The Wildcats (21-5) will face off with the District 12-5A champion Robert E. Lee Red Raiders (21-6) at Mike Carter Field in Tyler tomorrow night and then face the District 17-4A champion Kilgore Bulldogs Friday night at Eagle Stadium. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

"These are going to be two very challenging games for us. Our guys step up and meet challenges, and I fully expect them to do that this week," said SSHS head coach Jarrod Hammack.

Alex Aguilar will start tomorrow's game against Tyler Lee after finishing the regular season with a 6-1 record, a 1.22 ERA with 70 strikeouts, eight walks and 30 hits. He has also allowed 11 runs - seven of them earned - in 40 2/3 innings.

"Alex is going to throw five innings and then maybe have somebody come in for two innings," said Hammack. "In the heat of the battle, if we are winning and I am not sure, I will just leave him in and get the win."

Hammack said he planned to call some of the other coaches in the district to find out some information of R.E.L., but he does expect a good game.

"I am expecting a great challenge and they are very good. I have played them in the past and they are always competitive," Hammack said. "It will be a team that we will not face many better, and we want to see how we stack up against them."

The Wildcats have two players which hit over .500 this year in senior second baseman Josh Riley (.505) and senior pitcher/outfielder Jake Broumley (.500). Riley led the team with 37 RBI, while Broumley was tied for third with 15 RBI.

Hammack said the Wildcats will stick with the same game plan for the warm-up games and the playoffs and hope the run goes into June.

"I think what we have done so far has been successful and we have a very strong hitting ball club," Hammack said. "We don't have to take as many chances and we are going to continue to do the basics."

In their Friday night warm-up, Hammack said Broumley will start for the Wildcats as he is 7-1 on the year with a 2.93 ERA, 62 strike-outs and 34 walks in 50 2/3 innings. He has given up 37 hits and allowed 21 earned runs.

Hammack hopes to have Broumley pitch five strong innings and then possibly go to a reliever as he wants to use three pitchers for the final four innings in each game.

"We are going to have to rely on somebody other than just him, and we might as well throw them in the mix and see how they do," the coach said.

Hammack said Kilgore is very similar to another District 12-4A opponent and the players will be ready for the pitching match-up.

"We will probably see Kilgore's ace and he is about as good as Lindale's ace. We are going to see another quality pitcher that will be similar to someone in the playoffs," he said. "They are very similar to Texas High and they have some athletes, and I feel like they have the same kind of ball club as T-High."

With a tightly contested district in 10-4A and 9-4A, Hammack said the area round opponent would definitely be set by next weekend and he was going to make some calls today to find out what both schools would want to do in the playoffs.

"Just looking at the Dallas Morning News over the weekend, it looks like Justin Northwest will be the No. 2 seed in District 9-4A and then Dallas Spruce will be the one to come out of District 10-4A," the coach said. "I am going to call both coaches and get a feel for what they want to do with a neutral site, home-and-home or two-out-of-three and see what they are thinking about." 

Sulphur Springs will receive an opening round bye and then begin the Class 4A, Region II area round playoffs May 11-13 at a site and time to be determined.

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