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'Cats claw Pirates in 16-5A opener

George Whitley

By George Whitley
March 14, 2017 at 11:19 p.m.

Pine Tree's #7 warms up on teh mound at the start of Tuesday's March 14, 2017 game against Sulphur Springs. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

After clawing and scratching themselves out of a hole in the bottom half of the sixth inning, the Pine Tree Pirates fell right back into that hole in the top half of the seventh. End result was a 13-8 victory by the Sulphur Springs Wildcats on Tuesday night at the Field Of Dreams.

It was the District 16-5A opener for both clubs. Sulphur Springs improves its overall record to 8-5-1, while Pine Tree slips to 5-8-2 on the season.

The game stretched over the three-hour mark as the two teams combined to use seven pitchers and issue a grand total of 18 walks.

Sulphur Springs held a seemingly comfortable 9-5 advantage heading to the bottom of the sixth. The Wildcats were productive in every inning leading up to that point.

The Pirates, meanwhile, had stranded seven base runners over the first five frames.

Heston Golightly, on in relief for the Wildcats, couldn't find the strike zone to open the sixth. He misfired on 12 of his first 13 pitches, walking Shaffer Russell, Will Harris and Hayden McAfee to load the bags.

Kaden Argenbright was brought in from short to spell Golightly and he didn't fair any better. A.J. Brown walked on five pitches and forced across Russell from third to make it 9-6.

Pirate left fielder Hunter Greenlee did same after reaching a full count. Harris strolled home from third and suddenly it was 9-7.

McAfee was able to take full advantage of a passed ball and reach home just ahead of a diving Wildcat catcher Kyle Dodd's tag. Pine Tree was back in business, having erased a four-run deficit and only trailed 9-8.

The top half of inning seven was a carbon copy of the previous half inning. Sulphur Springs drew three straight free passes to start.

Mason Buck was issued four straight out of the strike zone, while Argenbright beat a full count and Golightly drew four successive out of the zone.

Pokey Best, the third Pirate hurler, retired and Russell took the hill. Buck crossed on a wild pitch, while Russell was immediately greeted by Triston McCormick's two RBI opposite field single to right. This scored Argenbright from third and Goligthly from second.

Another run was tacked on by the Wildcats for good measure when McCormick raced in from second ahead of Easton Silman's base rap to right center.

McAfee was a bright spot for the Pirates in the loss, reaching in four of his five at bats. McAfee collected to singles and scored three of Pine Tree's runs.

Other Pirates to collect hits included Brown with a single, Greenlee had a two-run double in the third and Cade Hardin had a two-bagger in the fifth.

Pine Tree visits Mount Pleasant Friday, while Sulphur Springs plays host to Marshall.

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