Lady Cats end season in three-way tie for second, will play Lindale today

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

April 21, 2007 - Needing to win to force a tie for third, the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats held up their end of the bargain against the Paris Lady Cats and found themselves in a long jam for a playoff spot.

SSHS (17-13) defeated Paris 4-1 on Senior Night and afterward found out they were in a three-way tie for second place in District 11-4A, forcing a tie-breaking mini-tournament starting at 4 p.m. today.

Sulphur Springs, Lindale and North Lamar all finished district with 6-4 records, tied behind district champion Mount Pleasant. Since all three of the tied teams split their regular season games against each other, they will have a playoff to see which two teams advance to the postseason.

In the first game, which will be played at 4 p.m. today in New Diana, Sulphur Springs and Lindale will meet. The winner is guaranteed at least third place, and will play North Lamar immediately afterward for second place.

If North Lamar wins the second game, the Pantherettes are second place in the district, and the loser of the second game is third. If, however, North Lamar loses, then the Pantherettes will have to play the loser of the first game to decide who is the third-place team. That game, if necessary, will be played at 6 p.m. Monday in New Boston.

For Sulphur Springs, it boils down to this - beat Lindale and they're in the playoffs. If they lose to Lindale, they have to hope Lindale then beats North Lamar or Sulphur Springs is eliminated.

In the first meeting of the district season between the two teams, Sulphur Springs lost 1-0 to Paris and committed seven errors in that game as Jerrisa Patt scored on an error for the only run of the game.

"Our girls had something to prove tonight because they know they did not play them well the first time that we played them," SSHS head coach David Carrillo said. "They came out and got after them."

This time, SSHS came out ready to play and took advantage of an early miscue by Paris as Mac Morgan worked a walk against Paris' Julie Essary, stole second and scored as Amanda McGowin reached on an error for the 1-0 lead.

This was the second straight game that Morgan had started the game with an aggressive play to score the opening run as she scored on an error last Friday against Lindale.

Carrillo praised the play of Morgan and pinch runner Jamonica Hall for their play against Paris.

"I tell you what with Mac and Jamonica when I put her out there, they are going to run," he said. "I expect them to use their speed and make something happen."

Hall scored the second run of the game for the Lady Cats in the fourth inning as Katie Dodd reached base on a walk and then Hall scored from first on an RBI double from Brittani Crawford to give them the insurance they needed.

"To me that run was so important because we saw the wind go out from their sails," Carrillo said. "With Jamonica scoring from first base was an awesome job of hitting by Brittani and an awesome job of running by Jamonica."

Sulphur Springs padded its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning as Paris pitcher Kellie Head was called for four illegal pitches which scored pinch runner Krista McMahan and Morgan.

Paris (16-10-4, 3-7) scored its only run of the game in the top of the sixth inning as Essary smacked a solo home run off starting pitcher Marci Womack to center field for the 4-1 deficit.

"I was very pleased with our performance and what a way for our seniors to go out tonight," Carrillo said. "It was an awesome job and I believe we have to continue to win. It is fast and furious now and it is an exciting time."

Womack finished with a complete game three-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk for the Lady Cats.

Carrillo said finishing the regular season at 17-13 was a great accomplishment for the players, but the team is still not finished and will find a way to get into the playoffs.

"We have had a great year, but we plan on going farther and we are not done yet. We will see what happens and we have an opportunity to play for second place. We have come a long way and in the second round, we went 4-1 and are playing well right now," Carrillo said.

"The third season is a fun time for us. Anybody can beat anybody and it doesn't matter because whoever plays well that night could win. I am excited that we were able to get into the dance and I am fired up and ready to play ball."

In the other district games, Mount Pleasant (20-9, 8-2) won the district title with a 4-0 win over North Lamar (22-6-2, 6-4), while Lindale (25-5, 6-4) defeated Texas High 4-1.

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