Top Diamond on the Diamond: SSHS junior named MVP of District 11-4A

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 16, 2007 - Brittan Diamond led the Sulphur Springs Wildcats on the mound and at the plate this year. According to the District 11-4A coaches, he led the entire district.

Diamond, a junior pitcher/infielder, was voted as the Most Valuable Player in the district for leading the Wildcats to a playoff berth.

Joining Diamond on the All-District team were senior outfielder Clay Wilks and senior first baseman Colby Strain on the First Team, and junior shortstop Jeff Beck and senior outfielders Jake North and Ladarius Harrison on the Second Team. Junior catcher Josh Dunn was Honorable Mention.

Diamond dominated on the mound and at the plate.

In district action, he went 5-1 on the mound with a 1.19 ERA. He struck out 55 batters in 41 1/3 innings, allowing just 26 hits.

At the plate, Diamond hit .382 with three extra-base hits and eight RBI in 34 plate appearances.

It was the second year in a row that the Wildcats had the district MVP. Last season, it was infielder Josh Riley.

"In my mind, Brittan was the MVP," said SSHS head coach Jerrod Hammack, who also presented Diamond with the team's MVP award last week. "It could have also gone to (Texas High's) Josh Turley, but I would have taken Brittan over any of them that were there."

Turley, Texas High's top pitcher, was named Pitcher of the Year. North Lamar senior Justin Miller was the Offensive MVP, Mount Pleasant junior outfielder Jacolbi Stewart was the Defensive MVP and North Lamar senior Britt Melton was the Newcomer of the Year.

Every team in the district had at least one player on the First Team.

The Wildcats finished third in the district with a 6-4 record.

"For a third-place team, I thought we were represented pretty well," Hammack said. "All a coach can do is nominate a player, he can't vote for them. You just sit there and hope the other coaches know what you know that they're good ball players and good kids. It's nice that they remember the kids because they only play them twice."

The Wildcats represented on the squad were worth remembering.

Colby Strain hit in the clean-up hole for the Wildcats and batted .353 in district with a team-high 10 RBI and six extra-base hits. He also scored seven runs.

Clay Wilks was an excellent defensive right fielder and had a knack for getting on base. He batted .367 in district and had an on-base percentage of .472. He had 11 hits, including four for extra-bases, and six walks. He also drove in six runs and scored nine times in 10 games.

Jeff Beck was solid up the middle at shortstop and batted .269 in district. He scored five runs and drove in three.

Jake North batted a robust .385 in district with 10 hits, three doubles and six RBI.

Ladarius Harrison really held down the center field position defensively, making difficult, running catches look routine. In district play, he batted .222 with two RBI.

Josh Dunn hit .333 in district with a .444 slugging percentage. He had three RBI and three doubles to go with six runs scored.

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