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ET Baseball Playoffs: Whitehouse last 4A standing

By by Jimmy Carter, jcarter@news-journal.com
May 18, 2013 at 11 p.m.


TYLER - Whitehouse is the last 4A baseball team standing in East Texas.

The Wildcats beat Hallsville 8-3 at Mike Carter Field on Saturday to sweep the Region II quarterfinal series and advance to the regional semifinal round for the second consecutive season.

Whitehouse broke the game open with a seven-run second inning and coupled the win with the 7-6 comeback victory Friday night for the 2-0 series win.

"I'm excited," Whitehouse coach Derrick Jenkins said. "I really thought this had a chance to go three games. They're such a good team. After yesterday's comeback, you're not sure how your kids are going to come back. So much energy was spent yesterday. And to come out today and put up seven runs in the second inning, it was nice to see."

Whitehouse (27-8) took control of the game with the offensive explosion in the second inning. The early cushion and crafty pitching by junior Ryan Cheatham (12-0) was all the Wildcats would need.

"It makes it so much easier to be out on the mound when you can be out there and know that your team put up seven," Cheatham said. "You can make a couple of mistakes and still get the win. It feels great."

Hallsville (28-7) had its season end in disappointing fashion as the District 14-4A champs were again without injured star Connor Reich, who also missed the Friday game. The Bobcats had their chances to get back in the game after Whitehouse's huge second inning, but they stranded 12 baserunners in the loss, including six in scoring position.

The missed opportunities allowed Whitehouse to grab and maintain the momentum in the second. The Wildcats batted around the order and sent 11 hitters to the plate.

Derek Clemons' RBI single to left field scored Jared Raabe to jumpstart the frame and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Cheatham drove in Clemons three batters later to push the lead to 2-0, then Eric Munoz' two-run single made it 4-0.

Aaron Clemons RBI sac fly scored Michael Nuon, then Pat Mahomes, Raabe and Derek Clemons followed with three consecutive RBI singles to give Whitehouse a commanding 7-0 lead. The Wildcats tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth to make it an eight-run game.

Right-hander Coby Weaver started for Hallsville and took the loss, giving up six earned runs on three hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings.

Cheatham was able to pitch out of trouble early in the game as Whitehouse built the big lead.

He took a no-hitter into the fifth despite having stranded seven base runners in the first four frames. The Bobcats reached on five walks, an error and a hit by pitch.

Hallsville mounted a threat in the top of the third, but Cheatham got out of a bases-loaded jam.

The Bobcats broke up the no-hitter when Cole Anderson led off the fifth inning with a double. Ronnie Gideon followed with a two-run home run, but the impressive shot to left field only cut the deficit to 8-2.

Hallsville scored a run to make it 8-3 in the top of the sixth, but couldn't get any closer. Cheatham went six innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on six walks, five hits and a hit batter to earn the win.

"It's exciting because they're big rivals to us, too," Cheatham said. "We played them last year in our district. And we came into it with a lot of excitement. To win in two games definitely makes it a lot more fun."

Whitehouse advances to a Region II semifinal series against Prosper. The Wildcats made it to the same round last year before losing a series to eventual state champion Rockwall-Heath.

"The fourth round is not where we want to be," Jenkins said.

"Our goal is to be in the state tournament. So we're happy with where we're at right now.

"But we're going to work to prepare to plan on playing for two or three more rounds."

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