Lindale Earns High Ground In District Championship Series With Whitehouse
LINDALE -- Even the best teams face a moment during their run that makes them question if they have the right stuff.
Lindale's moment came Tuesday in its first game of a two-game series with Whitehouse that will determine whether District 17-5A has an outright champion or co-champions. It pulled ahead in the first inning and slumped in the middle frames, but it ultimately run-ruled the Wildcats by a score of 12-2 through six innings.
The Eagles will head to Whitehouse on Friday one game ahead of the Wildcats with one regular season game remaining. They can't do worse than going into the record book as a district co-champion.
"It's nice," Lindale coach Rich Sanguinetti said. "But we're not done. We're not done. The work is still in front of us with a big meeting. Our kids are happy that we're at least co-champs, but we want to be just outright district champs."
Things could get a bit dicey if the Eagles turn around and lose Friday.
While the two teams would officially go down as co-champions after the regular season finale, the squads already have plans to meet Saturday and break the hypotehtical tie for playoff seeding purposes.
Whitehouse's current roster has a well-established history of thriving in the postseason setting. It reached the state semifinals a year ago after scraping into the tournament as the fourth and final team from its district.
The Wildcats (19-6-1, 7-2) performed nowhere near their optimal level in the penultimate game, but a below-average outing was enough for a first-inning lead and a fourth-inning tie before being blown away.
Lindale (19-4-2, 8-1) dropped the axe in the bottom of the fourth. It scored five runs in the frame, and all of the runs reached base with two outs in the inning.
Eight and nine-hole hitters Kale Walters and Drew Yochum drew full-count walks. Brad Burckel, Gage Walters and Jamey Richey then strung together consecutive hits ahead of Kollin McCartney reaching base on an error as the fifth run crossed the plate.
Yochum hit a two-RBI double in the fifth.
Nick Norton, McCartney and Cooper all scored in the sixth for the 10-run margin needed to shut down the game in the sixth.
But it didn't seem that easy heading into the bottom of the fourth.
The strike zone was tough to figure out. Starting pitcher Colton Ramsey hit three batters and walked a fourth between the top of the second and top of the fourth.
More than that, the upper half of Lindale's order could not produce its second time at the plate after building a 2-1 lead through the first inning.
A bases-loaded walk in the top of the fourth allowed Whitehouse to make it a 2-2 game.
"We have a ton of confidence in Ramsey," Richey said. "He's been awesome all year, so we just started preaching getting the first man out. Once we started doing that, we got on a roll. The hits would come."
Richey was a second Eagles player to record two RBIs. He batted 2 for 4 with a first-inning, one-RBI triple to negate Whitehouse's 1-0 lead after half an inning.
McCartney's fly ball the next at-bat scored Richey for a 2-1 advantage.
Ramsey earned an abridged complete game win on 78 pitches while allowing five hits and an additional five runners.
Whitehouse took its sole lead on a double steal between Mason House at first base and leadoff hitter Tanner Roach at third base. Brandon Quarles drew the bases-loaded walk to make it a 2-2 game heading into the decisive bottom of the fourth.
Nick Norton will get the nod Friday for Lindale. He got within one out of a no-hitter last week against Jacksonville.
"We'll have Norton on the mound," Sanguinetti said. "He's been good for us, especially coming out for us in his last outing. We'll just play our game and see how it goes."
Lindale 12, Whitehouse 2
At Lindale I.S.D. Baseball Complex
Whitehouse 100 100 -- 2 1 4
Lindale 200 532 -- 12 12 0
Pitchers and catchers
- Whitehouse: Bryce Cundieff, Jonathan Reyes (4) and Fiver Trimble
- Lindale: Colton Ramsey and Travis Brown
WP -- Ramsey
LP -- Cundieff
Lindale: Nick Norton, Gage Walters, Drew Yochum
Lindale: Jamey Richey