On the bus ride home from Round Rock, the Whitehouse baseball team started talking about next season.
Having just experienced one of the most difficult losses of their lives, the Wildcats looked ahead to another promising spring. And with so much talent returning from a state semifinalist, the expectations will be through the roof.
"We have a lot of kids coming back," coach Derrick Jenkins said. "Hopefully it's something we can do more than one time."
Whitehouse, which had never been to state before, finished the season with a school-record 31 wins (nine losses). The Wildcats fell 3-2 in the semifinals to 12-time state qualifier Corpus Christy Moody, which lost to Tomball in the Class 4A final at Round Rock's Dell Diamond.
All three starting pitchers — Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Cheatham and Peyton Conser — were juniors this season and are set to return. Other returning starters include infielders Jake Parker and Alex Munoz, plus outfielders Coleman Patterson and Rex Swinney.
However, four key players graduated last week and will be missed next fall. The players include first basemen Michael Nuon, catcher Derek Clemons, outfielder Jared Raabe and designated hitter/outfielder Aaron Clemons, who combined for 139 RBIS (Aaron and Derek led the team with 52 and 42, respectively).
"We're losing a lot of runs," Jenkins said.
The seniors helped Whitehouse go 85-23 the last three seasons and put together the best years in program history in back-to-back seasons.
"It was a great year," Jenkins said. "This group of kids have bought into everything we've done. We have a great program because of those guys."
CARLISLE LETTING STATE TITLE SETTLE IN
On Saturday, Carlisle coach Wesley Colley sent his son, Caleb, a question via text message.
"How does it feel to be a state champion?"
The answer: "Great!"
Last week, the Indians claimed the first state title in program history with a 6-1 victory against Stamford in the Class 1A baseball final at Round Rock's Dell Diamond.
Carlisle, which fell in the state semifinals last season, finished the season with a 29-1 record — the only loss coming to 2A state-ranked White Oak in a warm-up game.
On Saturday, coach Colley said the championship hadn't settled in yet.
"I've just been doing some year-end stuff," he said. "I've got to do some inventory on my equipment. Once I get through all that and settle down it will probably. Right now I've just been too busy."
The championship game was one of Carlisle's best performances of the season, Colley said. It came a day after the Indians gave up four runs in the first inning in a 7-6 comeback victory against Weimar that took eight innings.
Zach Brightwell, who struck out eight in a three-hitter, was named the championship game MVP in addition to being named the pitcher on the Class 1A all-tournament team. Other Indians on the all-tournament team were sophomore third baseman Ben Goss, junior short stop Caleb Colley and senior outfielder Shadow Sanders.
Mahomes was Whitehouse's lone representative on the all-tournament team, earning the nod as a pitcher.
2013 UIL Baseball State All-Tournament Teams
Selected by Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association
PitcherZach BrigthwellJr.Price Carlisle
Catcher Dylan McCarleySr.Trenton
2BDalton MathisSr. Stamford
3BBen GossSo.Price Carlisle
SSCaleb ColleyJr.Price Carlisle
OFShadow SandersSr. Price Carlisle
MVPZach BrightwellJr.Price Carlisle
PitcherDylan MooreJr.Hughes Springs
Catcher Chad McKinneyJr.Hughes Springs
OFHunter SmithSo.Hughes Springs
PitcherTrey SupackJr.La Grange
Catcher Landon GerikSr.La Grange
1BChris RabornSr.La Grange
2BAlex AlsupSr.Texarkana Pleasant Grove
3BJoe PearlmanFr.Texarkana Pleasant Grove
SSTanner FritschSr.La Grange
OFDylan SilveyJr.Texarkana Pleasant Grove
OFKolb KolekSr.La Grange
UtilityChase FreemanJr.Lubbock Cooper
MVPLogan VinklarekSr.La Grange
Catcher Mason StoneSr.Wichita Falls Rider
1BKenny SaenzJr.Corpus Christi Moody
3BPayton GeisingerSr.Wichita Falls Rider
OFTres LunaJr.Corpus Christi Moody
UtilityChris Estrada Jr.Corpus Christi Moody
PitcherDakota MillsSr.Fort Bend Dulles
Catcher Alex DunlapSr.Conroe The Woodlands
1BChris AndritsosSo.Conroe The Woodlands
2BLuke SherleyJr.Conroe The Woodlands
3BNick HernandezSr.Fort Bend Dulles
SSCaden WilliamsSr.Fort Bend Dulles
OFKolbi BrownSr.Conroe The Woodlands
OFJosh WatsonSo.Arlington Martin
OFDarryn SheppardSr.Ford Bend Dulles
UtilityJustin GarciaSr.Northside O'connor
MVPCarter HopeSr.Conroe The Woodlands