WHITEHOUSE —Whitehouse pitchers Ryan Cheatham and Patrick Mahomes consider themselves best friends —- or more like brothers, perhaps.
Since the sixth grade, the current juniors have spent countless hours hanging out and supporting each other in athletics —- even though they've competed for the same positions.
If all goes according to plan, Mahomes and Cheatham will combine to deliver the Wildcats their first state title in back-to-back starts this week. Following the structure used throughout an undefeated postseason, Mahomes gets the ball in the Class 4A semifinals Thursday and Cheatham is scheduled to throw in the championship game Friday.
"He's my best friend and even if we don't go to the same college we'll keep in touch," Mahomes said. "Hopefully he'll succeed and get his goals. It's just awesome for you and the other pitcher to be best friends."
Said Cheatham: "Me and Pat go back all the way to sixth grade. We used to spend the night with each other every single night and we used to play MLB The Show at my house and stuff. We've always been great friends. My family will do anything we can for him and he'll do the same for me."
Whitehouse (31-8), making the first state appearance in program history, meets traditional power Corpus Christi Moody (32-6-1) in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday from Round Rock's Dell Diamond. The winner advances to face either Tomball (33-4) or 2011 champion Wichita Falls Rider (32-8) in the title game at 7 p.m. Friday.
With both pitchers considered aces, Mahomes (9-1 on the year) has gotten the call in every series opener this postseason and Cheatham (13-0) has gotten the call in Game 2. The duo has combined to help the Wildcats sweep all five series and run their playoff record to 10-0, meaning third-option Peyton Conser has yet to get a postseason start and likely won't with no more than two games remaining.
Mahomes and Cheatham push each other to be their best.
"There's always that little bit of jealousy when he does a little better but it's not to where it will push me to be mad at him or anything like that," Cheatham said. "I'll never get mad at him for doing good because it just makes me want to do better than him and that helps both of us out."
Baseball isn't the only sport in which they push each other.
In a friendly manner in football last fall, Mahomes and Cheatham battled for the Wildcats' starting quarterback position and entered the regular season splitting time equally. But as the season progressed, Mahomes ended up manning the position full time and moved onto the national recruiting scene —- verbally pledging to Texas Tech in April.
Cheatham moved to receiver and plans to thrive in the role next season, which the Wildcats will likely enter state ranked after going 10-2 in 2012.
"That was hard because both of us were trying to get the QB spot," Cheatham said. "We talked to each other before it happened that whoever the better man is, is going to get it and we've just got to be grateful for it. Once he got it I was a little upset but I was really happy he was the one that was taking it from me and not somebody else."
Said Mahomes: "Even in football where we had to compete we were still great friends and hanging out all the time. … It was tough but we knew since we were younger it was going to happen and we were going to be competing for the starting job. We knew that we were going to basically just have to let the best man win."
Just like in football, Mahomes and Cheatham play the same position in baseball and excel in different ways. Mahomes is more of a power pitcher and heats up as the game moves on, while Cheatham is more finesse oriented and seems to always patrol the mound calmly.
No matter the style, Mahomes and Cheatham dominated Frisco Liberty in the 4A Region II final last weekend. Mahomes threw a complete-game one hitter with nine strikeouts in the 6-0 series opener, while Cheatham allowed one run on five hits in six innings of work in the 6-2 clincher.
In the meantime, both aided their causes at the plate as Mahomes went 2 for 3 with a triple and two RBIs in the opener and Cheatham finished 2 for 2 with an RBI double in Game 2.
Mahomes and Cheatham hope to remain at that level in the biggest game/or games in Wildcats' baseball history.
"I have tons of confidence in him," Mahomes said. "I have the confidence that I know if I go out and get the win this weekend and hand the ball off to him, that he'll go out and get the next one and he'll win that state tournament. He's a great competitor and I just love the feeling that if I do my part he'll do his."
In the semifinals, Whitehouse meets a program that's no stranger to state and hails from perhaps the top high school baseball town in the state. Moody, which won two straight against San Antonio Alamo Heights after falling in the opener of the Region IV final, is making its 12th appearance and first since 2009.
The Trojans have made nine appearances during the past 19 seasons, including seven since 2000.
Moody claimed state titles in 2004 (in 5A) and ‘07 (in 4A). The Trojans fell to Texas High in the ‘09 final.
"They're a baseball tradition school and we are kind of a football and every sport school," Mahomes said. "Corpus Christi is supposed to be the baseball town. Getting to play them is a great opportunity and hopefully we can go out there and get a win."
Notes: KTBB 600 AM is broadcasting Whitehouse's semifinal game and, if the Wildcats advance, championship game.
Whitehouse's 2013 Game-by-Game Results
Opponent Score W/L
Spring Hill 8-7 L
Pine Tree 3-2 W
Mount Pleasant 4-3 L
Grace Community 12-4 W
Fort Worth Christian 8-4 W
Dallas Christian 11-9 W
Garland Lakeview Centennial 13-0 W
Forney 10-5 W
Fort Worth THESA 10-9 L
Arkansas High 12-0 W
Texas High 9-1 L
Longview 7-6 W
Pine Tree 4-2 W
Mount Pleasant 7-6 W
Pine Tree 4-3 W
Atlanta 9-7 W
*Lindale 6-4 W
*Jacksonville 9-1 W
Longview 4-3 L
*Nacogdoches 4-3 W
*Corsicana 3-1 W
*John Tyler 20-1 W
*Lindale 8-7 W
Rockwall-Heath 4-3 L
*Nacogdoches 7-3 W
*Corsicana 3-2 L
*John Tyler 15-0 W
**Corsicane 13-3 W
***Red Oak 9-2 W
***Red Oak 11-5 W
***Sulphur Springs 7-5 W
***Sulphur Springs 8-3 W
***Hallsville 7-6 W
***Hallsville 8-3 W
***Prosper 10-3 W
***Prosper 8-7 W
***Frisco Liberty 6-0 W
***Frisco Liberty 6-1 W
*District 16-4A game
**Playoff seeding game