Whitehouse Uses Big Second Inning to Complete Series Sweep of Hallsville, 8-3
TYLER -- Whitehouse pitchers issued six walks and the Wildcats' defense committed four errors in Game 2 of their series against Hallsville.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, their offense came to play.
Whitehouse sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs in the second inning of their 8-3 series-clinching win Saturday at Mike Carter Field. The Wildcats (27-8) advanced to the Class 4A Region II semifinals for the second consecutive year and will face Prosper. Series details are to be determined.
It was Whitehouse's third consecutive playoff series sweep.
"You get a chance to rest a little bit, you're not just dead when it's over," said Whitehouse coach Derrick Jenkins. "You get to prepare for the next round, it's been a great thing. If we get to a Game 3, I feel great with Peyton Conser coming in and throwing a Game 3. But not to get there ... it's been great."
Hallsville, which dropped Friday's series opener after taking a one-run lead in the sixth, ended its season at 28-7.
"I really thought this had a chance to go three games," Jenkins said. "They're such a good team, we knew they were good. After yesterday's comeback, you're not really sure how your kids are going to come back. So much energy was spent yesterday, and to come out today and put up seven runs in the second inning, it was nice to see."
The second-inning outburst began with a leadoff walk to Jared Raabe, who quickly moved into scoring position with a stolen base. Derek Clemons then singled to left to give Whitehouse a 1-0 lead.
After a walk to Rex Swinney, Ryan Cheatham made it 2-0 with another RBI single to left field. Michael Nuon then walked to load the bases before Eric Munoz stroked a two-run single that made it 4-0 and chased Hallsville starter Coby Weaver (9-2) from the game.
Aaron Clemons sent reliever Justus Fulton's first pitch to left for a sacrifice fly, which was followed by consecutive RBI singles by Patrick Mahomes and Raabe that gave the Wildcats a huge, seven-run cushion.
"We're just keeping confidence up there every time," said Munoz, who went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. "We know we've got to back each other up. And if we don't do good on defense or our pitching's off, we have to pick it up at the plate."
Raabe finished the day 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Mahomes went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. All but one of Whitehouse's batters reached base at least once.
"We're swinging the bat right now as good as anybody," Jenkins said. "When we came into this series, everybody said that Hallsville's the best hitting team in this area. We kinda had a chip on our shoulder to show everybody that we can swing it as good as anybody."
Cheatham didn't appear to have his best stuff, but it was enough for the junior right-hander to improve his season record to 12-0. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with five strikeouts and six walks in six innings.
"Pitching-wise, we have a chance to relax just because of (the run support)," Jenkins said. "I wish they'd kinda finished some things up and got going, but they know right now we're going to score some runs and we're not going to quit. From start to finish, we're going to play you."
Hallsville had several scoring threats throughout the game, but left 12 runners on base despite not getting its first hit off Cheatham until the fifth.
"You don't want to see it, but that's kinda what they've done all year," said Jenkins on his pitchers escaping jams. "Even though we've walked a few guys, they've always worked out of them. We would like for things to come easier, but at least you know they're competing and they're not going to quit. They're going to keep battling from start to finish."
With Whitehouse leading 8-0, Cole Anderson doubled to lead off the fifth for Hallsville's first hit of the day. And Texas A&M signee Ronnie Gideon followed with a two-run homer that easily cleared the left-field wall. It was the only time Gideon put the ball in play -- he drew two walks and was hit by a pitch in his other three plate appearances.
Hallsville, however, couldn't get any closer in the fifth after stranding two runners. The Bobcats scored their third run in the sixth on a Whitehouse throwing error, but again left two men on base.
Nuon pitched a scoreless seventh to close out the win for Whitehouse, which was eliminated in the regional-semifinal round last season by eventual state champion Rockwall-Heath (now in 5A).
"Everybody always asks you, 'are you excited, are you excited to be here,'" Jenkins said. "We've always said that excitement is when you think you are finished, and we're not ready to be finished at all -- the fourth round is not where we want to be. Our goal is to be in the state tournament. We're happy where we're at right now, but we're going to work to prepare and plan on playing for two or three more rounds."
Whitehouse 8, Hallsville 3
Class 4A Region II Quarterfinal
Mike Carter Field, Tyler
Hallsville 000 021 0 -- 3 6 0
Whitehouse 070 100 x -- 8 9 4
Hallsville: Coby Weaver, Justus Fulton (2), Logan Bailey (5) and Colton Oberthier. Whitehouse: Ryan Cheatham, Michael Nuon (7) and Derek Clemons.
WP -- Cheatham (12-0).
LP -- Weaver (9-2).
2B -- Hallsville: Cole Anderson. Whitehouse: Eric Munoz.
HR -- Hallsville: Ronnie Gideon (fifth inning, one on).
Records -- Hallsville: 28-7. Whitehouse: 27-8.