Wildcats end things early for second straight game

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

March 30, 2008 - LINDALE - For the second straight game, the Sulphur Springs Wildcats were ready to end things early.

After a 16-0 run-rule win over the Mount Pleasant Tigers in their opening district game on Tuesday, the Wildcats scored another dominating win over the Lindale Eagles Friday night at Robbie Surratt Field.

The Wildcats scored 13 runs in the first four innings as they won a 13-2, run-rule contest Friday night to improve to 8-7 overall and 2-0 on the District 11-4A season.

"We have talked about it a long time and we know that we have the capability of doing this," said Wildcat head coach Jerrod Hammack. "We are physically talented enough to swing the bats and what we are doing differently is the pitch count.

"We are taking the pitches that we do not need to swing at anymore, and we are making the pitchers throw us a pitch that we can actually hit. We are not swinging at bad balls out of the zone, and I could not be prouder of these kids."

SSHS started off the first inning with a bang as Jeff Beck smacked the very first pitch from Lindale starter Justin Smith over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead. On the next at-bat, Dalton Abner reached with a double and Brittan Diamond drove in Abner with a single to right field. Diamond later scored on a passed ball for the 3-0 lead.

Kevin Mabe then rounded out the first inning's scoring as he hit a sacrifice fly off Lindale reliever Justin Valdez to center field scoring Jace Jackson, who had walked. Smith lasted only 1/3 of an inning, giving up four runs on three hits with one walk.

"I had a great feeling after the home run and my first thought was Rickey Henderson - who is the all-time leader in lead-off home runs - and I thought that was a good way to start things off," Hammack said. "Dalton Abner then hits a bullet and Brittan hits a bullet, and things were going good for us early."

The Wildcats continued putting on the pressure in the second inning as second baseman Brandon Whittle led off with a single, followed by a double to left field by Beck that put runners on second and third with no outs. Two batters later, Diamond recorded his second RBI of the game with a groundout as SSHS held a 5-0 lead.

In the top of the third inning, SSHS blew the game open sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs in the inning. Senior Josh Dunn opened the inning with a sharply-hit double down the left field line. Dustin Gant then put runners on the corners with a single down the right field line and Mabe drove in Dunn with a single. On the next at-bat, Ben Barrows cleared the bases with a double and later scored on a passed ball for a 9-0 lead.

With two outs in the inning, Abner reached on a walk, stole second and scored on a double by Diamond, who went 2-for-3 with one run scored and three RBI.

After a three-up, three-down inning for Lindale in the top of the fourth, the Wildcats scored three more runs to round out their scoring with a two-out rally.

Mabe reached first on a throwing error by Lindale's Jamid Jones and reached second on a single by Barrows. After both runners advanced on a passed ball, Whittle hit a sacrifice fly to right field, which the fielder dropped, as Mabe and Barrows came in to score. Beck then drove in Whittle. Beck went 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored.

In the bottom half of the fifth inning, Lindale found a way to get on the scoreboard as pinch hitter Martin Dodgen smacked a two-run home run over the head of Jackson for the 13-2 deficit. With two outs in the inning and Jones up to bat, Lindale's John Oliver attempted to steal second, but Dunn gunned him down for the final out of the game.

"The home run was low and away and the guy had to basically pick it up off of the dirt," the coach said. "I thought Kevin pitched well and I thought in the bottom of the first he did not look that sharp, but from the second inning on he looked really sharp."

Mabe pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits with three strikeouts and also went 1-for-2 at the plate with a run scored and two RBI.

"I could not be more pleased with the effort or the style of play that we have now," Hammack said. "Our players are running hard, and we are doing things offensively that are going to make us tough to beat."

Notes: The Wildcats were scheduled to face McKinney North today at 1 p.m. at Eagle Stadium but due to the rain that hit Sulphur Springs overnight, Hammack said the game is canceled. ... The Wildcats will play Paris on Tuesday at Eagle Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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