Whitehouse Hangs On For 7-5 Game 1 Win Over Sulphur Springs
LINDALE — Patrick Mahomes will play baseball at the next level, mostly for what he does on the mound and at the plate.
But it was the Texas Tech commit’s instincts in the field that helped Whitehouse hang on for a 7-5 win over Sulphur Springs in Game 1 of their Class 4A Region II area playoff best-of-three series Friday night at Lindale ISD Baseball Complex.
Clinging to a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh with a runner at third and nobody out, Sulphur Springs’ Jenner Jackson hit a fly ball to medium center field. Cole HIll, the runner at third, broke for home and appeared to pull Sulphur Springs to within a run.
Mahomes, playing shortstop after going the first six-plus innings on the mound, called for relief pitcher Michael Nuon to appeal the play to third base. Nuon threw over and the third-base umpire ruled the tagging Hill left early, resulting in the second out of the inning. Nuon then got Kason Matthews to pop out to end the game.
“When he threw the ball, I turned and (Hill) was already almost (past) the dirt,” Mahomes said. “I was like, ‘there’s no way he’s that fast.’ So I made sure we got the appeal at third base. I wasn’t necessarily just looking for that, but when I turned around and saw him already down the line … he caught the ball pretty shallow in center field, there was something sketchy about that.”
Sulphur Springs (20-10-1) loaded the bases to begin the seventh with a single by Cabo Sanvig, followed by consecutive walks to Alex Burney and Jordan Jackson, which chased Mahomes from the game.
Nuon came on in relief, and Hill sent his 1-1 offering to the wall in left-center field for a three-run triple.
“You go up 7-2 and you feel pretty good about it, but I watched them play last week (against Wylie East) — they won 9-8 and they won 7-6,” said Whitehouse coach Derrick Jenkins of Sulphur Springs. “You knew they weren’t going to quit. I’m tired and I didn’t even play, that’s what playoffs are about right there.”
Whitehouse (24-8) will go for the series sweep in Game 2, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday in Lindale. Whitehouse is expected to start junior right-hander Ryan Cheatham (10-0), while Sulphur Springs figures to go with staff ace Jenner Jackson (9-1).
“He’s a big kid, probably 83-86 (mph) with pretty good off-speed, throws the change-up a little bit,” Jenkins said of Jenner Jackson. “He pounds the zone, he comes right at you, he’s not afraid of you. He’s a good pitcher, one of the better ones we’ll see this year. Hopefully we can square some balls up and make them play defense a little bit, and see if we can go win a game.”
If a third game is necessary, it will follow Game 2.
Nuon, a senior first baseman who has recovered from three knee surgeries in his career, was the star at the plate for Whitehouse. He went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and his two-run homer to left field in the fourth gave Whitehouse a 3-2 lead.
“I knew there was a fastball coming, and he put it in there,” Nuon said. “When I hit it, I think it kinda gave the whole team a little bit of a spark. After that, everybody just got a little more relaxed and they just started going to work.”
Added Jenkins: “You can’t say enough about him, period; it kinda makes you want to tear up a little bit. Just the kid he is and the things he does, he’s really swinging the bat so well probably the last 10 or 15 ballgames. And he’s a true leadoff guy; he walks, hits the ball hard, does anything you ask him. And to do it on three torn ACLs, it ain’t a bad way to go.”
Whitehouse played add on, scoring a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Aaron Clemons and three more in the top of the seventh on an RBI double from Derek Clemons, a squeeze bunt by Rex Swinney and Nuon’s single to left.
“We left a lot of guys on early,” Jenkins said. “You have to continue to tack runs on, especially against good teams. You could just tell as we went through the game, before you knew it we tacked a few runs on. It pretty much won us the game. If we don’t get those three runs in the seventh inning, we probably lose the game today.”
Mahomes (7-1) was the winning pitcher, allowing five runs on four hits in six-plus innings. He struck out six and walked seven.
“I struggled in the first inning for sure, I did the same thing last week at Red Oak,” Mahomes said. “Once I find my groove, I’m kinda starting to deal a little bit. I guess I kinda underestimated their swinging and I wasn’t throwing as hard the first couple of innings. I started picking up my speed and pitching well. In the end, it kinda hurt me because I was a little tired.”
Jenner Jackson gave Sulphur Springs the game’s first lead with a towering, two-run double to center field that scored Burney and Hill, who walked.
Jake Parker got Whitehouse on the board in the second with an RBI single to right field, scoring Jared Raabe, who reached on an error to begin the inning.
Whitehouse 7, Sulphur Springs 5
Class 4A Region II Area Playoff
Lindale ISD Baseball Complex
Whitehouse 010 201 3 — 7 12 2
Sulphur Springs 200 000 3 — 5 5 2
Whitehouse: Patrick Mahomes, Michael Nuon (7) and Derek Clemons. Sulphur Springs: Jordan Jackson and Cabo Sanvig.
WP — Mahomes (7-1).
LP — Jackson (4-6).
S — Nuon.
2B — Whitehouse: Mahomes, Clemons. Sulphur Springs: Jenner Jackson.
3B — Sulphur Springs: Cole Hill.
HR — Whitehouse: Nuon (fourth inning, one on).
Records — Whitehouse: 24-8. Sulphur Springs: 20-10-1.