Wildcats start hitting early, end game in 5 innings

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

April 16, 2008 - Getting off to a big start is something SSHS head coach Jerrod Hammack has been pleased with this district season.

Tuesday night was no different as the Sulphur Springs Wildcats took care of the Lindale Eagles 10-0 for their second straight run-rule game over the Eagles.

"We talk about getting off to a big start," Hammack said. "We need to be able to do that at home and that means that they do not score in the top of the first and you go out and get some runs. We were able to do that yet again, and we were able to score in every inning and put pressure on them."

Wildcats senior ace Brittan Diamond allowed only four baserunners in the game while giving up one hit and striking out six in the five-inning victory.

"Brittan got stronger as the game went along tonight and that is what he always does," the coach said. "I have said it a million times, that is what you expect out of him always. You want him on the mound to give you all he has and he has good stuff. He is a great pitcher and once he gets going and has a lead, he is tough."

In the top of the first inning, Lindale's Justin Copeland reached on a sharply hit single off the glove of diving shortstop Jeff Beck and advanced to second on the play.

After a sacrifice bunt by John Oliver, Justin Valdez grounded out for the second out of the inning. With Copeland at third and Mitch Baker at the plate, SSHS catcher Josh Dunn had a ball get by him but quickly recovered with a throw to Diamond, who tagged Copeland out at the plate to end the inning.

SSHS (12-8, 6-1) scored four runs in the bottom of the inning as Dalton Abner, Diamond and Jace Jackson all hit singles. Jackson's single scored Abner for the first run of the game. After a walk to Dunn, Mason Rawson smacked a bases-loaded double off the left field wall for a 4-0 lead.

"That is what we have been expecting out of him (Rawson) all year long," the coach said. "He started out the season slow, but I tell you the more he has played the better he has gotten. He can swing the bat and has done a good job this year."

Lindale looked like they would cut the Wildcats lead in half in the top of the second as Baker and Jamid Jones reached on back-to-back errors.

With runners on second and third and no outs, Diamond was able to battle out of the jam with strikeouts to Cody Highnote and Nathan Simmons and a groundout to Miles Freeman to end the inning.

"It was good, but we did have two errors in the inning to put those runners in scoring position," the coach said. "We battled out of it and that is a pick-me-up for us and is demoralizing for them. They feel like they ought to be able to get one run out of that situation and when the defensive team can get out of that inning with no runs, then that is tough for them."

The Wildcats scored a run in the bottom of the inning as Jayden Wallace scored on a double steal for a 5-0 lead.

In the third inning, SSHS scored four more runs as Rawson started the scoring on a passed ball. Kevin Mabe then scored on a single by Beck, and Ben Barrows and Beck scored on a single by Diamond. Mabe enforced the run-rule in the fourth inning as he scored on a throwing error by the second baseman.

Diamond went 3-for-3 with two RBI, while Jackson went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. Beck, Abner, Rawson, Mabe and Barrows each recorded one hit for the Wildcats.

SSHS travels to Paris on Friday night for a match-up with the Paris Wildcats. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

"We have got to take care of Paris and they are a young team," Hammack said. "They have got some freshmen starters and they lost their No. 1 starter to an injury for the season. They are trying to hang on for the rest of the year, and we can not take them lightly."

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