Wildcats commit four errors in first loss of season
By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer
Feb. 24, 2008 - WILLS POINT - Playing in 30-degree temperatures during the second day of the Wills Point Invitational Baseball Tournament, Sulphur Springs dropped to 1-1 on the season with a 5-3 loss to Arlington Pantego Christian Friday morning at Jim Lester Park.
"I was disappointed yet again with our hitting," said SSHS head coach Jerrod Hammack. "We scored seven runs in our first game but we didn't hit the ball real well. We faced a guy today that I thought was an average pitcher at best and we don't have a plan at the plate.
"We are swinging at balls in counts were we are up and we are leaving men on base with weak ground balls to their infield. We are not very smart at the plate right now."
The Wildcats were scheduled to play Wills Point today at 11 a.m. in their final game of the tournament before traveling to Mount Vernon on Tuesday night. First pitch for the game against Mount Vernon is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Wildcats starter pitcher Josh Anderson had a solid game for the Wildcats as he went five innings, while giving up four hits, four runs - three of them earned - two walks and one strikeouts. Jeff Beck came on in relief and gave up one run on two hits in one inning of work.
"I thought Josh Anderson threw well enough to win today," the coach said. "If we would have taken care of our business, he would have finished the game. We were able to let them hang around and they were able to take care of business."
In the top of the first, the Wildcats took the early lead as Dalton Abner reached first on a throwing error by Pantego pitcher Dakota Taylor. Brittan Diamond then rapped a single to left field and Jace Jackson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With the bases loaded, senior Josh Dunn hit into a sacrifice grounder to third scoring Abner for the 1-0 lead.
Pantego Christian came back in the bottom of the inning with a run of their own off Anderson as Randall Shapiro opened with a single, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Taylor to send Shapiro to second. Travis Breslin drove in Shapiro with an RBI-single to left field to tie the game at 1-1.
In the fourth, the Wildcats took control of the game as Jackson reached on a error by the third baseman and advanced to second. Dunn then smacked an RBI-single to deep left field to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
APHS once again tied the game on a throwing error by Wildcats second baseman Brandon Whittle as Brian Ritter singled to open the bottom of the fifth inning. On the next at-bat, Ethan Farmer hit a grounder to Whittle, which he misplayed to Dunn on a short hop as Ritter came around to score.
"We weren't very sharp defensively in today's game," the coach said. "It is still early in the season and we have a long ways to go. We will work these kinks out but I would have expected this team to be better than we are right now."
Arlington Pantego scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI-double from Scott McFadin, a RBI-single from Taylor Peddicord and an error for the 5-2 lead. SSHS scored one run in the seventh on a RBI-single by Abner that scored Whittle for the 5-3 finale.
The Wildcats committed four erros in the game and were led in hitting by Dunn, who went 1-for-2 with two RBI and Ben Barrows and Whittle, who both went 1-for-3 in the game.
"I am not going to make excuses for anybody," the coach said. "We know our plan at the plate and we have got to execute it. If we don't execute it on a regular basis then we are going to struggle offensively all year long.
SSHS 7, Van 0
In their opening game of the tournament, the Wildcats received a no-hiter from Diamond as he was two batters away from a perfect game on Thursday.
Hammack said that Diamond hit a batter and the Wildcats were called for catcher interference for the only baserunners of the game.
"I don't think they ever got a guy to second and he did a great job on the mound," the coach said. "I think he threw 61 pitches for a full game and that is amazing. We scored enough runs late and it was 0-0 through four innings. At the end, we got seven runs and right now I am not pleased with the offense."
Individual stats were not available on the game as of presstime.