Prior to the series, Whitehouse baseball coach Derrick Jenkins predicted each game against Hallsville would go down to the wire.
The first one did.
Not so much.
In a showdown between East Texas heavyweights, Whitehouse cruised to an 8-3 victory against Hallsville in Game 2 of a Class 4A regional quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at Mike Carter Field. The lopsided triumph gave the Wildcats (27-8) a series sweep and advances them to the regional semifinals against Prosper, which eliminated Frisco Wakeland in three games this weekend.
Hallsville completed the season at 28-7.
"I thought they would both go down to the wire," Jenkins said. "I really thought it would be to the last pitch. To know we came out and did what we did says a lot about our kids. It shows how well prepared our kids are and how much they want to win."
Whitehouse, which rallied in the final inning to win the opener 7-6 on Friday, scored seven runs in the second to bust open Game 2 before much of the crowd even got settled in. The Wildcats chased Bobcats starting pitcher Coby Weaver during the inning, all seven runs coming on RBIs.
That no doubt gave Whitehouse starter Ryan Cheatham more than enough run support to improve his record to 12-0 on the season, going six innings and allowing three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and six walks. Cheatham carried a no-hitter into the fifth, but gave up four hits during the inning and two-run homer to Hallsville star slugger Ronnie Gideon.
He was relieved in the seventh by Michael Nuon, who finished out both games in the series after rarely pitching during the regular season because of injury.
Whitehouse's Eric Munoz enjoyed another impressive outing at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a double and two RBIs a day after finishing 2 for 4 with two RBIs. The sophomore has been giving the Wildcats a difficult out from the two spot in the lineup.
"Munoz is such a great kid," Jenkins said. "He didn't play for about three or four years before he came to high school. You just knew he was going to be a ball player; just to have him there and to know how hard you have to work to get him out. He's going to be a special player one day."
Whitehouse's Jared Raabe, who also finished with a pair of RBIs while going 2 for 2 with a walk, led off the second with a walk and was then driven in by fellow senior Derek Clemons for a 1-0 lead. After a flyout resulted in the inning's first out, Rex Swinney continued the rally by walking and Cheatham delivered an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
Munoz extended the lead to 4-0 with a two-run single just before RBIs also came from Aaron Clemons, Patrick Mahomes and Raabe to complete the frame and put Hallsville on elimination alert.
"You've got to go out and score some runs early and kind of put them away," Jenkins said he told his players before the game. "All the pressure was on Hallsville in Game 2 today. It's nice to get them that way. We're swinging the bat well right now. I don't think there's an easy out in our lineup."
In the fifth, Hallsville looked ready to make a comeback attempt when Cole Anderson led off with a double and Gideon followed with a two-run shot into the tree line — his only hit of the series — just past the left-field wall. But the Bobcats weren't able to capitalize more against Cheatham, plus were limited to one run in the sixth despite reaching base three times on Whitehouse errors.
Class 4A Regional Quarterfinals
Whitehouse 8, Hallsville 3
(Whitehouse wins series 2-0)
Hallsville 000 021 0 361
Whitehouse 070 100 x 891
Coby Weaver, Justus Fulton (2), Logan Bailey (5) and Colton Oberthier; Ryan Cheatham, Michael Nuon (7) and Derek Clemons 2B – H: Cole Anderson; W: Eric Munoz. HR – H: Ronnie Gideon (fifth inning, one on).
RECORDS – Hallsville 28-7; Whitehouse 27-8.
NEXT UP – Whitehouse vs. Prosper, regional semifinals, TBD.