|Wildcats will send their ace to the mound in Game 1|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
May 11, 2006 - It's playoff time for the Sulphur Springs Wildcats.
After a first-round bye and two tough warm-up losses, the Wildcats (21-7) open up their area round best two-out-of-three series tonight against the Justin Northwest Texans (16-12) with their ace on the mound.
Senior Alex Aguilar has taken on the No. 1 starter role this season for first-year coach Jerrod Hammack and has battled with a shoulder injury earlier in the year to head into tonight's game with a 6-2 record and a 2.11 ERA. He has allowed 39 hits, 13 earned runs, nine walks and struck out 71 batters in 43 2/3 innings.
"Alex has thrown well for us all year and the only team that really hit him well was Tyler Lee - a Class 5A program that is a good one," Hammack said.
"I am expecting him to do what he does and that is to work ahead in the count and be able to strike people out when he has them in a vulnerable spot. He doesn't have to strike everybody out, but get ahead in the count and dictate what the hitter has to do and not the other way around."
During his start against Tyler Lee, Aguilar went three innings giving up nine hits and eight runs while walking one and striking out one.
In Game 2 of the series Friday night, the Wildcats will go with their No. 2 starter in senior Jake Broumley - who this season is leading the team with a 7-2 record and is third in ERA at 2.94 with 38 walks, 68 strikeouts, 24 earned runs and 43 hits in 57 2/3 innings.
Hammack said the past two outings of the season for Broumley have been his best, and his last outing against Kilgore was impressive.
"Jake has thrown his two best outings the last two times out, and he has really competed well against North Lamar and Kilgore," the coach said. "Certainly, I thought he threw better than the Kilgore ace and that is who everybody is talking about."
Broumley threw a complete-game against Kilgore giving up six hits and four walks while fanning six in a 5-4 loss Friday night at Eagle Stadium.
With a trip to the regional quarterfinals on the line this weekend, Hammack said both seniors have been composed this week and they know what is on the line against Justin Northwest.
"I think they know that it all starts with them and that the pitchers have the control of the game all the time," he said. "If those two guys give us their best, and I know that they will, then I will put them up against anybody during this postseason."
Hammack said if the series goes three games, then pitchers Jayden Spencer, Chance Massey or Blake Wells will get some work in that game as Wells is the only one of those players with playoff pitching experience from last year.
"In Game 3, it will be a game-time decision with Blake, Chance or Jayden, and it is good to know that you have that many guys that can go in Game 3.," Hammack said. "We were able to see their third and fourth starters, and from what Coach (Josh) Strickland saw they are not very good."
Spencer leads the team with a 1.97 ERA and is 2-0 on the season. In addition, he is the team's center fielder and is batting .417 on the season and has been hit 13 times in the lead-off position.
Notes: The Wildcats will be designated as the home team for tonight's game and will be the visitor's for Friday night's game. They will be in the third base dugout for all three games of the series.