Whitehouse Completes Sweep of Sulphur Springs + Advances to Regional Quarterfinals
LINDALE -- For the second consecutive day, Sulphur Springs jumped out to a 2-0 first-inning lead. And for the second straight game, Whitehouse responded.
This time, the resilience helped punch a ticket to the third round of the playoffs.
Whitehouse scored seven runs over the game's first two innings, helping the Wildcats to an 8-3 win over Sulphur Springs on Saturday at Lindale ISD Complex, completing the sweep of their Class 4A Region II area-round playoff series.
"It's just nice not to have to go to a Game 3," said Whitehouse coach Derrick Jenkins. "We had a bad start, kinda in both games; they picked up two runs (in the first inning) in both, but we came out and swung it well."
Whitehouse (25-8), undefeated in the playoffs thus far, advanced to the regional-quarterfinal round where it will face Hallsville next week. Series details have yet to be determined.
Sulphur Springs (20-11-1) took advantage of three first-inning errors by Whitehouse to build the early lead, but Whitehouse answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning and three more in the second for a 7-2 lead.
"We have just been swinging it so well," Jenkins said. "We talk about it all the time; it's going to be hard to shut us out. I think this is like our 55th straight game without being shut out, since Halllsville of last year. We swing the bat well and do a lot of things, so I feel like we can hit the ball and do what we're supposed to do."
Junior right-hander Ryan Cheatham improved to 11-0 on the season with the complete-game win. He allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
"That's the Ryan you expect to see ... lots of ground balls and fly balls, no real hard hit balls," Jenkins said. "It's what you expect of him every day. They're going to put it in the play, he pitches to contact. If we play defense behind him, we're going to win a lot of ballgames."
Aaron Clemons singled and drove in three runs to lead Whitehouse at the plate. Derek Clemons went 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Jake Parker collected two hits, scored a run and stole base.
Sulphur Springs ace Jenner Jackson (9-2) suffered the loss, allowing eight runs (five earned) on seven hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked five.
Cole Hill had two hits and scored a run in the losing effort.
Whitehouse went to work right away in the bottom of the first. Michael Nuon drew a leadoff walk before Eric Munoz was hit by a pitch. And after both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Aaron Clemons slapped a two-run single to center that tied the game.
Derek Clemons later added an RBI single, and Parker knocked in a run with a ground out to first base.
And all of a sudden, Cheatham was staked to a lead.
"Once I go back in the dugout, all my teammates are running around the bases and getting me runs," Cheatham said. "It definitely helps me settle down when I go back out there, and it helps me throw strikes and produce."
Cheatham settled into a groove, allowing just one run on three hits the rest of the way.
"I feel like it happens every time -- when I get late in the game, my slider just develops," Cheatham said. "I think it's because my legs get a little tired, so my slider starts breaking a little more."
Whitehouse increased its lead with three runs in the second. Aaron Clemons had a sacrifice fly, Patrick Mahomes singled in a run and later scored on a delayed steal of home.
Tempers flared in the top of the third inning.
After Jackson led off with a walk, Larry Pryor singled to right field. When the throw from the outfield came in behind Pryor at first base, the Sulphur Springs runner objected to the tag applied by Nuon at first base. Pryor responded by shoving Nuon, which led to the ejection of both Pryor and Sulphur Springs head coach Jerrod Hammack.
"It's a little scary because once you see guys get ejected, you've got to really watch what your guys do," Jenkins said. "Everything that happens magnifies. I said, 'stay with what we're supposed to be doing, stay with us and let the rest worry about the rest, and take care of us and we'll be fine. The fans kinda calmed down a little bit, so you saw some of the intensity being lost. But they kept control and finished up the ballgame."
Whitehouse 8, Sulphur Springs 3
Class 4A Region II Area Playoff
Lindale ISD Baseball Complex
Sulphur Springs 201 000 0 -- 3 4 3
Whitehouse 431 000 x -- 8 8 5
Sulphur Springs: Jenner Jackson, Cole Hill (6) and Cabo Sanvig. Whitehouse: Ryan Cheatham and Derek Clemons.
WP -- Cheatham (11-0).
LP -- Jackson (9-2).
2B -- Sulphur Springs: Hill.
Records -- Sulphur Springs: 20-11-1. Whitehouse: 25-8.