Corpus Christi Moody Scores Late to Edge Whitehouse, 3-2, in Class 4A State Semifinal
ROUND ROCK -- Whitehouse had very little drama in reaching its first-ever state baseball tournament, winning all 10 playoff games in the process.
There was plenty of drama Thursday night at Dell Diamond in the Wildcats' Class 4A semifinal against perennial state power Corpus Christi Moody. And for the first time in a month, Whitehouse went down in defeat.
Moody scored the go-ahead run on a fielding error with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, defeating the Wildcats 3-2 to end the best season in Whitehouse history -- one game short of the state championship game.
Whitehouse, which never led or trailed Moody by more than one run, finished the year at 31-9 one season after being eliminated by the eventual 4A state champion Rockwall-Heath in the regional semifinals.
"The thing about it is they know what it's like and they know they want to be back here," said Whitehouse coach Derrick Jenkins. "We'll go to the beginning and start talking about this moment right here. We're here 3-2, had a chance to win a ballgame and things didn't go our way. What I hope it does is make us a little more hungry, practice a little harder, work a little harder and get prepared again."
The Trojans (33-6-1), making their 12th appearance at the state tournament, will go for their third state title at 7 p.m. Friday against Tomball.
Johnny Gonzalez led off the bottom of the sixth with an infield single, and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Tres Luna then sacrificed Gonzalez to third with one out.
Whitehouse pitcher Patrick Mahomes (9-2) then retired Brandon Cantu on a grounder to short, while Gonzalez remained at third. John David Garcia stepped to the plate, and on the first pitch, hit a grounder to third off the glove of Ryan Cheatham that allowed the go-ahead run to score.
It was one of three Whitehouse errors on the night.
"We just didn't make the plays, there's really not a whole lot to say," Jenkins said. "They came out, and we just didn't get things done from the get-go. I think they scored on a (wild pitch), we made a couple errors -- I'm not sure a run should be on that board right now."
Moody junior left-hander Kenny Saenz (15-2) shut down a Whitehouse lineup that had scored at least six runs in all 10 playoff games. He allowed two unearned runs on four hits, struck out eight and walked four. He retired the last 10 batters he faced.
"I thought we squared some balls up … we just couldn't get things to fall and string things together," Jenkins said. "I don't think (Saenz) did anything special that we haven't seen, we just couldn't string anything together and couldn't get any runs."
Mahomes pitched in and out of trouble throughout. He allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits, striking out two and walking six.
"They had some long at-bats, but (Mahomes) kept battling," Jenkins said. "He put some guys on and got out of some jams; he just kept going. He had a good year, it's going to propel him to what he's going to do next year. When you work that hard against a good team, you're going to give up a few runs here and there."
Moody took a 1-0 lead in the first when Garcia led off with a double down the left-field line, moved to third on a sac bunt and scored on a wild pitch.
Whitehouse found the equalizer in the top of the third when Aaron Clemons reached on an infield single and Cheatham rounded third and scored when Moody second baseman Aaron Hernandez mishandled the ball.
Ricky Gonzalez helped Moody retake the lead in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single to score courtesy runner Richard Rodriguez, who was running for Saenz after he reached on an error.
Jake Parker scored the tying run for Whitehouse in the fourth on another error by Hernandez.
Saenz stranded the go-ahead run at second, and did not allow another Whitehouse baserunner the rest of the way.
"I thought we still took good swings, we took good swings the whole game," Jenkins said. "They caught a few balls, made a great play at third base. They just made the plays, there's just really not much to say."
Whitehouse will lose four seniors to graduation, including Michael Nuon, who put off surgery to repair a third torn ACL until after the season.
"Heart and leadership … Nuon, the things he's went through with three torn ACLs and as hard as he plays," Jenkins said. "Jared Raabe, No. 1 in his class, and you've got two twins (Aaron and Derek Clemons) that I think drove in about 95 runs on the year between them. Those guys right there are a big reason why we're sitting right here today."
Whitehouse will return a solid nucleus of incoming seniors, including Mahomes and Cheatham -- the Wildcats' top two starting pitchers that combined to go 22-2 on the year.
"Just a great group of kids," Jenkins said of his team. "I've got two boys of my own and they're the type of kids I want them to be around. We're going to change this program to what it is right here … we're going to start making a trip up here more often. And it starts with guys like this getting things going."
Corpus Christi Moody 3, Whitehouse 2
Class 4A Semifinal
Dell Diamond, Round Rock
Whitehouse 001 100 0 -- 2 4 3
Moody 101 001 x -- 3 4 2
Whitehouse: Patrick Mahomes and Derek Clemons. Moody: Kenny Saenz and Michael Cantu.
WP -- Saenz (15-2).
LP -- Mahomes (9-2).
2B -- Moody: John David Garcia.
Records -- Whitehouse: 31-9. Moody: 33-6-1.
Attendance -- 2,219.