Wildcats use 13 run first inning to defeat Tigers

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

March 26, 2008 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats opened up the District 11-4A schedule with a dominating win over the Mount Pleasant Tigers Tuesday night.

SSHS (7-7, 1-0) took advantage of six Mount Pleasant Tiger errors and a 13-run first inning for a 16-0 run-rule victory at Eagle Stadium.

"I don't know what to say about it. I told the kids that I could not have scripted this any better," said SSHS coach Jerrod Hammack. "We worked on our bunting game a little bit during the period to try and get some offense going and it worked."

The Wildcats return to the diamond on Friday night as they travel to Lindale for a rematch with the Eagles. Lindale defeated SSHS, 3-1, on Feb. 29 during the Oil Belt Classic Tournament in Kilgore.

Against Mount Pleasant, the Wildcats scored 13 runs as they sent 17 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. Mount Pleasant went through three different pitchers in starter Brad Dove and relievers Ryan Mallory and Lucas Quary.

Jeff Beck led off the bottom of the first inning reaching on a throwing error by third baseman Mallory and advanced to second. On the next at-bat, Dalton Abner laid down a bunt, but Dove's throw to first went wide and Beck came around to score.

Abner later scored on a passed ball, and two batters later pinch runner Jayden Wallace scored as Josh Dunn reached on a second error by Dove. Two batters later, Kevin Mabe and Ben Barrows smacked back-to-back RBI singles for a 6-0 lead.

Mallory then came on with no outs in the inning and lasted only two batters as Brandon Whittle smacked a two-run double to left field and Beck drilled an RBI single.

Beck, Abner and Wallace then scored on two passed balls and a wild pitch as the Wildcats held a 12-0 lead. Mason Rawson then rounded out the scoring with a single scoring Jace Jackson.

"We have not scored 13 runs in a ballgame this year, but it was nice to get that in the first inning," the coach said. "We did not just lay down after that point but we kept battling and played good defense. I thought we were effective for the rest of the ballgame, and we did not let that first inning just take care of the rest of the game."

Wildcats starting pitcher Brittan Diamond allowed only four MP baserunners as he went the distance, giving up three hits and striking out eight batters.

"I told Diamond after the game that I thought he threw one of his best ballgames of the season," Hammack said. "I thought he was hitting spots and his curveball was working and he was throwing hard.

"I thought Diamond's game was better than his no-hitter. Some of those hits probably should not have happened and nobody really touched him that hard. He was really determined tonight with this being a district opener."

The Wildcats scored two more runs in the bottom of the third inning as Diamond led off the inning with a home run to center field on the opening pitch by Quary. Jackson then reached on a single and three batters later scored as Barrows reached on a throwing error by the third baseman.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jackson drove in pinch hitter Kolton Jones with an RBI single off reliever Chad Bowers for the 16-0 final.

Jackson led the team at the plate going 2-for-2 with three runs scored and one RBI, while Diamond went 2-for-3 with an RBI and one run scored.

JUNIOR VARSITY

SSHS, 11, Mt. Pleasant 0

The SSHS JV moved to 10-0 with the run-rule victory.

Jake Dougan doubled and had a home run, both in the bottom of the fourth inning, to lead the Wildcats offensively. Bryce Jenkins went the distance on the hill, giving up just one hit and two walks while striking out eight.

With a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the third inning, Grayson North led off with a walk. After an out, Colby Suggs and Shane McQueen followed with back-to-back doubles to extend the Wildcats' lead to 3-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, SSHS sent 13 batters to the plate and scored eight more runs to put the game out of reach.

McQueen had two hits, two runs scored and an RBI, while Jordan Peoples finished with two hits, a walk and an RBI, and North had one hit, two walks and two stolen bases.

The JV squad host Lindale on Friday at 7 p.m.

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