WHITEHOUSE -- Jodi DeHart turned in her second web gem of the game in the bottom of the ninth to erase Whitehouse runners on the bags, and the Lindale faithful were finally able to relax. They had dodged a bullet in their first game as a state-ranked team.

So they thought. So. They. Thought.

DeHart's diving catch at shortstop and a throw to Sarah Day at second base for a double play were the first two outs of the bottom ninth inning. The Lady Eagles never got that third out and watched their two-run lead in extras turn into a 7-6 road loss Tuesday in District 17-5A play.

Down to the final out, Maddie Wright drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch. Whitehouse starting and still-going pitcher Mahayla Mitchell followed it up with a home run to left field despite a tired right arm that had thrown 154 pitches.

A four pitch walk to Sierra Stone the next at-bat and then a double over the center fielder from the bat of Makayla Moore turned the Lady Wildcats' frown upside down while handing Lindale reliever Hannah Knox a tragic loss after allowing one earned run through her first 6 and 2/3 innings of work.

"Great job by those girls," Whitehouse coach Chris Clemons said. "They persevered. We had played well all night, kind of stumbled a little bit in the top of the ninth. The walks were as big as the home run we had. I'm really proud of them."

Lindale's Lorin Reue gets underneath Whitehouse catcher Sierra Stone's tag for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.

Lindale (8-3-2) coach Meredith Grant probably would have given you the exact same soundbite. Her team played well all night and kind of stumbled at the end.

The Lady Eagles played the better game over more half innings. They generated 12 hits, benefitted from three Lady Wildcats errors and scored in five of nine frames.

Whitehouse (8-11-1) recorded eight hits, enjoyed three Lindale errors and put up a four-spot in the third inning ahead of the three-spot in the ninth as its only scoring innings.

But even as Lindale demonstrated what makes it the Texas Girls Coaches Association's 24th-ranked team state wide in Class 5A through the latter scheduled innings, it seemed unlikely the contest would need extra innings. Whitehouse's four-run third created a 4-1 advantage.

A one-out hit by Mitchell sandwiched around full-count walks by Kenzie Wright and Stone spelled the end of Lindale starting pitcher Lorin Reue's night in the circle. She threw 69 pitches while recording five outs and enduring her defense's three errors before getting the hook with a 1-0 lead.

Reue, who continued playing as designated hitter, had scored in the bottom of the second from third base on London Reue's swinging strikeout and a throw to first base after the pitch hit the dirt.

Moore blew the game wide open on Knox's first pitch. A seeing-eye bouncer went right through the legs of Lindale's Day, kept rolling to deep center field and sent all three base runners home even though Day played the ball perfectly in a block attempt.

Whitehouse's Kenzie Wright makes a leaping catch in left field for a third-inning out.

Moore made it a 4-1 game with Bailey Dennis' sacrifice fly to right field later in the inning.

The remaining regular innings went to Lindale.

London Reue scored in the fourth thanks to a double by Michaela Walker, Lorin Reue hit a solo shot beyond left field in the fifth, and Dee Saunders made it a 4-4 game in the sixth on a double on Allie Thompson's second double of the game as part of a 2 for 3 night with two walks.

Then, Lindale made its play for the win after fruitless seventh and eighth frames.

Mallory Welvaert snapped a 0 for 4 night with an infield hit and got batted in by a one-out Knox double. Knox all but ensured herself a hard-earned win in the circle, scoring herself when Lorin Reue followed her double with a liner through the left infield gap.

Mitchell rallied for a strikeout, her eighth of the game, and a ground out to strand Lorin Reue at second base. Thus setting herself up for the game-tying homer with two outs some five minutes later.

"I was just relaxed in the box," Mitchell said. "The pressure just wasn't getting to me. I just stayed there, was really focussing on the pitches, saw it out of her hand and knew it was the one. I said before I got in the box, this was the moment I was due.

"I felt like I had to do it for my team. I had to get up there and had to see the pitch. I told myself that if she put the pitch in there, I had to hit it as hard as I could and it would go over the fence. It was just one of those moments, I don't know, I just felt it."

Another walk and yet another double, the game's seventh, and Whitehouse had a signature win against a ranked opponent.

Speaking of moments, the Lady Wildcats' moment had been brewing for a while. They faced three currently ranked opponents in the non-district season and lost by a combined score of 20-3.

Experience has to count for something. Tuesday's win elevated Whitehouse into a three-team tie for first place within district play.

Lindale has an opportunity to at least somewhat break the tie Friday while visiting Corsicana, which is the third team tied for first place. If it beats Corsicana and Whitehouse loses its simultaneous game at home against Nacogdoches, the Lady Eagles will own first place outright.

For now, though, it's any of the three teams' league to win.

"This is pretty special," Mitchell said. "We come into this season knowing we're going to play great teams. To see the hard work put into the game from practices means a lot. Whenever we play a team like that, they're extremely good, fight through and see it play out is amazing."

Whitehouse's Makayla Moore slides in for a 4-1 Lady Wildcats lead in the bottom of the third inning.

Whitehouse 7, No. 24 Lindale 6

District 17-5A
At Whitehouse High School

Lindale                 010    111    002    --    6    11    3
Whitehouse          004    000    003    --    7     8     3

Pitchers and catchers

  • Lindale: Lorin Reue, Hannah Knox (3) and Allie Thompson
  • Whitehouse: Mahayla Mitchell and Sierra Stone

WP -- Mitchell
LP -- Knox

Doubles

Lindale: Thompson (2), Knox, Michaela Walker
Whitehouse: Makayla Moore (2), Jadyn Gunn

Home Runs

Lindale: Reue
Whitehouse: Mitchell