SULPHUR — In winning its 14th consecutive district title, Tanner Watson set the table for Sulphur.
Nick Magruder left it spotlessly clean.
The Bulldogs’ center fielder drove in five runs, as Sulphur defeated Tishomingo 13-1 to sweep the district doubleheader at Sulphur High School on Thursday.
The 14 consecutive district titles is the longest streak in program history.
Watson didn’t have an official at-bat in Game 2. He drew four walks, and finished the day with an on-base percentage of .778 after missing the 2013 season with a knee injury.
“Just watching the ball come in, I’ve been seeing it really well lately and making sure I pick the right pitches to swing at,” said Watson. “When I came back, I was really rusty at the beginning. Now that we got back into it, I’m getting it all back, what I missed last year.”
Sulphur coach Corey Cole said Watson did a great job.
“The thing about him is, he’s patient, He sees a lot of pitches,” Cole said of Watson. “He did a job tonight of setting the table without having any big hits. He was disciplined, and that’s what baseball is about. He’s a great leader and he does a great job for us. You get six walks, that’s huge.”
Magruder plated the first two runs in the bottom of the first inning against Tishomingo starting pitcher Collin Sullivan. He added a three-run double two innings later to extend Sulphur’s lead to 10-3. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fourth inning.
Twelve of Sulphur’s 13 runs came with two outs.
“That many runs, you hardly ever see it,” Watson said. “We had a lot of momentum and we’ve been swinging the bat well lately.”
Senior pitcher/shortstop Ryan Rackley said making two-out rallies happen is a huge part of the game.
“I think our kids really understand that anything can happen in baseball,” Cole said “We’re peaking at the right time. We’re playing really good ball the last couple of weeks.
“Everybody executed tonight. That was the big thing.”
On the mound, Rackley allowed one run in five innings to give Sulphur another shot to win a regional title, a feat the team has fallen one game short of the last three years.
Rackley, Watson, right fielder McLane Jolly and designated hitter/third baseman Tye Brown have another opportunity to reach the state tournament.
“The last three years, we’ve been to the (regional) championship,” Rackley said. “We’ve almost been there, and I just really want, my senior year, to get there. It’s a big goal.”
Cole praised the job first-year Tishomingo coach Cody Stephens did during this campaign.
“Hats off to Coach Stephens and Tishomingo,” Cole said. “They have made tremendous strides. He’s done a tremendous job of getting those guys going in the right direction this year. He had them ready to play, and that’s all you can ask as a coach.”
In Game 1, Tishomingo had a great chance to win. The Indians drew a couple of bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at six.
However the Indians had three base runners tagged out at home to end innings; the first, second and sixth.
The momentum Sulphur gained by winning Game 1 carried through the half-hour break into game two, Rackley said.
“When I came in, we kind of sealed it up on a positive note, kind of put the stamp on it,” he said. “When we came back out, we picked up where we finished the (first) game.”