Whitehouse Scores Late to Defeat Lindale, 6-4, in 16-4A Baseball Opener
WHITEHOUSE -- Michael Nuon was batting in the ninth spot Tuesday night, but Whitehouse head coach Derrick Jenkins doesn't expect his senior first baseman to be there for long.
Nuon, recovering from a torn ACL, hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth inning of Whitehouse's 6-4 win over Lindale in their District 16-4A opener.
"He's usually my leadoff guy, and right now he's in the nine-hole trying to get comfortable -- not have pressure on him as far as his knee," Jenkins said of Nuon. "Hopefully as he gets back into a groove and gets used to it and he'll move back up where he's supposed to be."
Whitehouse (12-5, 1-0), which held a 4-1 lead on Lindale (10-6, 0-1) through three innings, was in danger of letting its district opener slip away. But Rex Swinney drew a one-out walk in the sixth and pinch-runner Brennan McDaniel advanced to third on a single to right by Eric Munoz, who moved up to second on the throw to third.
That set the stage for Nuon.
"I told him, 'hey, baby you can wash a lot of things away right here by getting an RBI and winning a game,'" Jenkins said.
Nuon's fly ball to medium center brought in McDaniel, who just beat the throw to the plate. Munoz also scored on the play when the Lindale catcher's throw to third skipped past the third baseman.
"For me, it was good to see (Nuon) in that situation with a chance to do those things," Jenkins said. "I think that's going to be a good start for what he's fixing to do and where we're going."
Munoz scored twice on the night and stole a base, while Jared Raabe went 2-for-3 with an RBI, two runs and a steal for Whitehouse.
Ryan Cheatham got the win, tossing two scoreless innings of relief. He struck out three with the only baserunner reaching on an error.
"That's the kind of kid he is," Jenkins said of Cheatham. "He came in, had a little movement on his ball and threw strikes. When he's throwing strikes and doing what he's supposed to do, he's as good as anybody in this area."
Whitehouse starter Patrick Mahomes went five innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on two hits with eight strikeouts. He walked seven and hit two batters.
"Patrick, with his control, couldn't really get into a rhythm tonight," Jenkins said. "It'd been kinda warm and then it got chilly. Maybe that had something to do with it."
Lindale took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jon French scored on a wild pitch. But Whitehouse evened the game in the bottom half when Lindale was called for catcher's interference with the bases loaded.
Whitehouse built a 3-1 lead in the second inning on consecutive RBI singles from Raabe and Derek Clemons, and went up 4-1 in the third when Cheatham scored on a wild pitch.
Tate Coomer's sacrifice fly RBI in the fourth brought Lindale within a run, and the Eagles tied it with two runs in the fifth. Kyle Bond legged out an infield hit with the bases loaded before Kris Bond drew a bases-loaded walk.
"That's kinda our mentality, to get guys on base and run a little bit," said Lindale coach Russell Bowker. "(Mahomes is) a great pitcher, and we've got to get on base any way we can -- walk, hit by pitch, error. Whatever it takes, we've got to get runners on and be able to manufacture. You're not going to get a bunch of hits on the kid, he's an outstanding pitcher."
Lindale resumes its season Friday at home against John Tyler.
"We told our kids that winning this one game is not going to get you in the playoffs, and losing this game is not going to knock you out of the playoffs," Bowker said. "Obviously, you want to win your (district opener), but it's not the end of the road. Our goal is to get in the playoffs and we still have that opportunity."
Whitehouse, which has won its last three games with late-inning rallies, travels to Jacksonville on Friday night.
"You'd rather, of course, score a lot of runs early and cruise and do some things," Jenkins said. "But the great thing right now that we are doing, we don't quit. And hopefully as the season goes on, we're going to see some things and be a whole lot better because of that. Things aren't going just real perfect right now, but as time goes and we continue to get wins, it's going to help us in the long run."
District 16-4A Baseball
Whitehouse 6, Lindale 4
Lindale 100 120 0 -- 4 2 1
Whitehouse 121 002 x -- 6 5 3
LIN: Nash Walters, Chase Brown (3) and Tate Coomer. WHI: Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Cheatham (6) and Derek Clemons.
WP -- Cheatham.
LP -- Brown.