Whitehouse Blasts Corsicana in Home Finale
WHITEHOUSE -- There would not have been a lot to remember from the Wildcats' home finale if it wasn't senior night.
Whitehouse overcame a bad first frame with an eight-run second inning and cruised for an 11-3 win against Corsicana in the school's farewell game for seniors Ryan Cheatham, Peyton Conser, Joseph Klein, Patrick Mahomes, Brennan McDaniel, Jake Parker, Coleman Patterson and Rex Swinney.
Not only did Friday mark the last home baseball game, for most of the seniors it was their final senior night after going through similar ceremonies in other sports. The letter winners will disperse to UT-Tyler, Tyler Junior College, Panola College, Ouachita Baptist, TCU and Texas Tech shortly after the current season wraps up.
"Those kids right there, they've kind of changed the demeanor of what people think about athletics in Whitehouse," Wildcats' skipper Derrick Jenkins said. "Five of six years ago, we were a good athletic program that just kind of got by. Now we're considered one of the best in the state at everything we do. This group right here is a lot of the reason for those things."
Mahomes is expected to join the Texas Tech football team and inherit the backup quarterback spot immediately in addition to playing baseball in Lubbock.
Parker and Patterson will attend Tyler Junior College and play football for the 2014 fall semester in hopes of picking up Division I scholarships. Parker averaged about 23 yards per catch last season and recorded 1,629 receiving yards which was second in East Texas.
Klein will play football at Ouachita Baptist.
Cheatham will play baseball Panola College and attempt to make the jump to Division I college baseball and Conser will play at UT-Tyler.
Swinney and McDaniel will attend TCU and Texas Tech, respectively, as regular students.
Many of the seniors were on Whitehouse's football team which advanced to the third round of the Class 4A Division II playoffs. Several of those players moved on to basketball and advanced to the third round in the Class 4A state tournament.
All helped the Wildcats baseball program to the Class 4A baseball semifinals a season ago and have aspirations of a state championship in the looming playoffs.
Whitehouse (20-5, 5-4) clinched a playoff berth by deafult Thursday thanks to Lindale's 15-3 win against Jacksonville. The Indians will finish the season as the fifth team in 16-4A with only four playoff spots in the district.
"We've struggled in district and we're hoping to turn it around," Mahomes said. "I'm hoping this win tonight will be the spark. We know we can beat anybody in the state."
There were signs of promise Friday.
Jenkins has harped on the team to have a good approach at the plate. Whitehouse recorded eight hits and drew six walks against Corsicana.
"I would say we had 85 percent quality at-bats today," Jenkins said. "If you can do that, as athletic as these kids are, you've got a chance to win a whole lot of ball games. One thing we talked about today was we needed to flip a gear somewhere and make a change. Then we get out here and made them throw 66 pitches in one inning."
The start of the game had disaster written all over it.
Mahomes threw 38 pitches in the first inning and walked the leadoff man on four pitches, hit the second batter and subsequently gave up two hits for three earned runs.
Whitehouse got one of the runs back in the bottom first as Mahomes lined an RBI base hit through the middle gap. He then settled in on the mound for a quick second inning.
The Wildcats sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second for eight runs and a 9-3 lead. Corsicana didn't muster much more offense and Mahomes was pulled after the fourth inning to conserve him and make way for freshman Ryan Walls' varsity debut.
The 6-foot-5, 175-pound freshman struck out three batters and allowed three base runners in three innings of work.
"I'm so excited about him," Jenkins said. "When you look for the next guy, as far as on the mound, I think he's probably it. He's a big kid. We've got to get some weight on him and some things like that, but he throws four pitches for strikes and he pounds the strike zone. He's got a great demeanor for a pitcher. We're going to put an ace on the mound again next year. That's pretty exciting. And we have a few lefties as freshmen that we're pretty excited about."
That's probably the final time Jenkins will be able to experiment with new players though.
Whitehouse will visit Tyler's Mike Carter Field next Friday for its regular season finale against John Tyler. The Wildcats will be battling Corsicana for third-place and playoff seeding in the final district standings.
"It crosses through your mind that you might not be playing with these guys much longer, especially when you go through some rough patches like we have," Cheatham said. "It gets kind of scary. It makes me want to play harder every day knowing that our time together is wrapping up."
Whitehouse 11, Corsicana 3
District 16-4A Baseball
At Whitehouse High School
Corsicana 300 000 0 -- 3 5 3
Whitehouse 180 200 x -- 11 8 1
Pitchers and catchers
- Corsicana: Brady Harlan, D.J. Minniear (2), Preston Hill (4) and Joe Vasquez
- Whitehouse: Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Walls (5) and Rex Swinney.
WP -- Mahomes.
LP -- Harlan.