Ryan Cheatham + Whitehouse Knock Off No. 7 Corsicana, 3-1
WHITEHOUSE — Whitehouse coach Derrick Jenkins considers junior pitcher Ryan Cheatham a second staff ace.
And he pitched like it Thursday night.
Cheatham, who shares starting-rotation duties with college and professional prospect Patrick Mahomes, worked seven solid innings in Whitehouse’s 3-1 win over No. 7 Corsicana in a battle for sole possession of first place in District 16-4A.
“I’ve got two No. 1′s … I’ve been saying that from day one,” Jenkins said. “When they do what they’re supposed to do, I’ve got two cats that can throw. And (Cheatham is) the real deal.”
The win improved Whitehouse to 15-6 overall and 4-0 in district, and more importantly, gave the Wildcats an early leg up in the district-title chase.
“It’s great to get this one, especially knowing you’re going to their place (in the next round of district) and probably going to see the same guy again on the mound,” Jenkins said. “Just to go through district and hopefully keep winning and walk into that game undefeated (in district) when we get there, so all the pressure’s on them to beat us and we can just play the game.”
Cheatham, who tossed a no-hitter last Friday at Jacksonville, dominated the Corsicana (18-5, 3-1) lineup Thursday. He allowed a run and scattered five hits, striking out eight with two walks.
“I want to walk onto the mound every time with confidence,” Cheatham said. “I want to know that I can do it every time I go out there. It’s good having some confidence going into each game.”
Cheatham pitched in and out of trouble in the first two innings, but settled into a groove. He allowed just two hits over the final five innings and struck out the side in the seventh.
“Once I got further into the game, some of the jitters — since they’re one of the best teams in our district — some of the jitters went away,” Cheatham said. “I was able to relax and get myself where I needed to be.”
Whitehouse only got one hit off Corsicana pitcher Holden Grounds, but took advantage of three Tigers errors in a two-run fourth and a pair of wild pitches that accounted for another run in the fifth.
“We tell our kids that it doesn’t matter what the score is or what happens, a win’s a win,” Jenkins said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 3-1 or 4-0, you want to go win a game. Today, we had energy from start to finish. We couldn’t get some things to fall early, we put the ball in play but (Grounds) did a great job today.”
Corsicana grabbed a 1-0 lead on Zane Otten’s one-out RBI single in the second inning, but the Tigers could’ve had more.
Zach Rash laid down a suicide-squeeze bunt attempt, but Wildcats third baseman Jake Parker charged the ball and delivered a strike to catcher Derek Clemons for the second out of the inning. Clemons then fired down to shortstop Patrick Mahomes covering at third to cut down the trailing runner for the final out of the inning.
“Your energy level always goes up on something like that,” Jenkins said. “I think Cheatham relaxed after that point, and from that point on I think he maybe gave up two hits. Sometimes you need plays like that to get your game to where you want it to be.”
Whitehouse took a 2-1 lead in the fourth without the benefit of a hit.
Mahomes reached on the first of three fourth-inning errors by the Corsicana shortstop, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a passed ball and came around to score when Aaron Clemons’ grounder was mishandled at short.
Michael Nuon, who walked and moved to third on the second error of the inning, scored on a groundout by Cheatham to give Whitehouse the lead.
Jared Raabe added insurance after scoring on a wild pitch in the fifth.
The rest was up to Cheatham.
“I feel like every game, once I get to the end of it, my fastball is still there and my curve ball starts to develop more and I can get people guessing,” he said. “And once that happens, it’s easy.”
Whitehouse resumes its season April 5 at John Tyler.
District 16-4A Baseball
Whitehouse 3, No. 7 Corsicana 1
Corsicana 010 000 0 – 1 5 3
Whitehouse 000 210 x – 3 1 1
COR: Holden Grounds and Zach Rash. WHI: Ryan Cheatham and Derek Clemons.
WP — Cheatham.
LP — Grounds.
2B — COR: Zane Otten.