|End of the Line: Justin Northwest knocks Wildcats out of baseball playoffs|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
May 15, 2006 - McKINNEY - After finishing the regular season with a district championship and a perfect 10-0 campaign in 12-4A, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats dropped their area round playoff series to the Justin Northwest Texans Saturday afternoon.
Northwest defeated Sulphur Springs, 13-1, in five innings at Al Alford Field to take the best-of-three series two games to one with SSHS (22-9) winning the middle game 10-0 Friday night.
"That was not the script that we wanted to write. I can't explain what happened other than what I saw is we did exactly what we did Thursday night," said SSHS first-year coach Jerrod Hammack. "Our pitchers had like seven walks and we had an error that was a big error, and our pitchers worked behind in the count quite a bit."
Senior Josh Riley led the Wildcats at the plate going 3-for-3 with a run scored and finished with a .539 batting average (55-of-102) with 39 RBI and 20 doubles. Riley had two doubles in the loss Saturday afternoon.
Colby Mills went 2-for-2 while Scott Stewart went 1-for-2 with an RBI for the Wildcats.
Hammack said the team should be proud of what they accomplished during the season despite losing four of their final five games.
"I wish I had an explanation for the end of the season, but I don't," the coach said. "The 10-0 district season is excellent and something they should be proud of and hopefully they will remember that more than this playoff series."
Northwest jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning as Tyler Tillotson scored on a single by Tyler Collins and M.J. Storey drove in Rett Varner as he was hit by a Jayden Spencer pitch with the bases loaded.
Spencer went 1 2/3 innings giving up two runs on two hits while allowing five walks with one strikeout. Senior Alex Aguilar came on in relief and went 3 1/3 innings giving up 11 runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Sulphur Springs scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning as Riley opened the inning with a double. Then with one out, Stewart smacked an RBI single to the left field wall, scoring Riley for a 5-1 deficit.
The Wildcats gave up six home runs during the series with Northwest hitting two in Saturday's game off Aguilar as Jason Lawrence connected on his second with a three-run shot in the third inning and Tillotson connected on his first in the fourth inning with a solo home run for a 9-0 lead.
Hammack said with the pitchers getting behind in the count and the batters comfortable at the plate the ball carried well.
"It didn't happen much all year and I don't know other than the ball carried well in this park and we didn't hit one at all ourselves," he said.
Hammack said with the coaching change this year, the players responded well to his style and the seniors made it a memorable year for him.
"Any time you have a coaching change, you don't really know how they are going to handle a new guy and they have been outstanding and coachable this season," Hammack said. "They have provided a lot of good senior leadership and those guys certainly fit the mold of a good team."
Notes: This was the final game for assistant coach Larry Sherman as he will make the move to Mount Vernon next season. It also was the final game for seniors Riley, Aguilar, Spencer, Stewart, Casey McMahan, Bailey Potts, Fred Dale, Chance Massey, Tyler Lucas, Kiffer Davis, Matt Y'Barbo, Blake Wells and Jake Broumley.