Paris is latest victim of Wildcats' potent offensive attack
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
April 2, 2008 - Coming into the District 11-4A season, Sulphur Springs Wildcats head coach Jerrod Hammack knew his team had the talent to score runs against the competition.
He just didn't know it would be this good as the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 38-2 in three district games this season.
Sulphur Springs (9-7 overall, 3-0 in district) defeated the Paris Wildcats 9-0 at Eagle Stadium Tuesday night.
"We got off to another good start tonight," the coach said. "It is something we have been doing good at during district, and I am proud of these guys. We were able to get up 8-0 before they brought in another pitcher - who I thought did good and threw hard. It took us a couple of innings to get a run off of him, and then we wanted to keep that 10-run streak alive, but could not do it tonight."
With the win, the Wildcats now prepare to face the undefeated Texas High Tigers (16-3, 3-0) Friday night at Eagle Stadium.
"This is my third year here and we have both been 3-0 coming into this game," Hammack said. "We are probably both going to throw our No. 2 pitchers I feel pretty sure. We are going to start Kevin (Mabe) in that game, and I feel comfortable with our other pitchers. This game should be a battle and everybody should come out and watch because it will be two good ball teams getting after each other."
Against Paris, SSHS jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Jeff Beck led off with a single to left field. Dalton Abner then bunted Beck to second and Brittan Diamond smacked a hard shot off of the shortstop that scored Beck.
With two outs in the inning, senior catcher Josh Dunn struck out as the catcher let the ball get past him. On the throw by the catcher, Dunn reached as the first baseman misplayed the ball to put runners on first and second. Two batters later, Mabe blasted a two-run single to right field scoring courtesy runners Jayden Wallace and Cedric Finnie for the 3-0 lead.
Sulphur Springs came back with another big inning in the bottom of the second off Paris starting pitcher Cullen Calabria. SSHS scored five runs on three hits as they sent eight batters to the plate.
Senior second baseman Brandon Whittle opened the inning reaching on an error and advanced to second on a passed ball. With Beck facing a 3-1 count, he drove in Whittle with a single to left for the 4-0 lead.
With the bases loaded in the inning and no outs, Jace Jackson smacked a two-run single to deep right field, and then Dunn and Mason Rawson had RBI groundouts to put SSHS in the driver's seat. Jackson went 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored.
"When you score a lot of runs in an inning, you have to come back on defense and make sure they don't score any runs and that is what we did," Hammack said. "The next thing is to put multiple innings together with a lot of runs, and we did that also in the second. We are hitting on all cylinders right now and if we can continue to do that then we are going to be a tough team to beat."
Sulphur Springs scored its final run in the bottom of the fifth inning on a double from Ben Barrows and an RBI by Mabe off Paris reliever John Mark Abbey to give SSHS a 9-0 lead .
Diamond had another strong outing on the hill as he pitched a complete game four-hitter with one walk while striking out 11. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate.
"Brittan did another good job on the mound and the guys behind him made the plays tonight," Hammack said. "He does not need eight runs to win a ballgame, and we come to expect a strong outing from him every time he steps out on the hill. I think that is a little bit of added pressure, but he likes that during district play."
SSHS 3, Paris 0
Wildcat starting pitcher Jake Dougan threw a no-hitter on Tuesday, striking out 13 batters and walking five as SSHS improved its district record to 3-0.
Paris pitchers held SSHS to just three runs on five hits.
The Cats got on the board early, scoring two runs on three consecutive hits in the top of the first inning by Conner Brackhahn, Shane McQueen and Colby Suggs. The final run came in the sixth as pinch-runner Josh Halcomb scored on a wild pitch.
Defensively, SSHS was led by shortstop Grayson North and catcher Jocko Spataro, who threw out a baserunner attempting to steal second base.
The undefeated JV squad (12-0 overall) travels to Texas High on Friday for a 7 p.m. start.