Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

April 17, 2013

CHS Baseball: Big-game atmosphere

Matchup with league leader not about revenge

Corsicana — The Tigers don’t see Friday night’s showdown with Whitehouse as a chance for revenge after last month’s 3-1 road loss.

They see it as a chance to beat the first-place team in District 16-4A and pull even in the district race.

“They’re the team to beat,” Corsicana coach Heath Autrey said on Wednesday. “They’re 8-0. They beat us the first time.”

Corsicana (23-5-1, 7-1) has won five straight games since the loss at Whitehouse on March 28. The Tigers continued their latest winning streak with a 1-0 victory on Tuesday at Lindale.

Autrey saw Tuesday’s win as the perfect opportunity to get ready for Whitehouse (19-7), which beat Nacogdoches 7-3 on Tuesday.

The Tigers managed six hits against Lindale but won a close game. Zane Otten’s steal of home and six shutout innings from freshman Trevor Nolen keyed the win.

Senior right-hander Holden Grounds got the final three outs against Lindale and he should be back on the mound Friday against Whitehouse. The Wildcats will likely counter with junior right-hander Patrick Mahomes. Ryan Cheatham, who had eight strikeouts against the Tigers in the first matchup, started Tuesday against Nacogdoches.

The Tigers hope for more of the same from Grounds, who allowed one hit in the loss to Whitehouse. Otten had three hits in the game. But errors and missed opportunities at the plate kept the Tigers from keeping their perfect record in 16-4A.

“This is an opportunity for our kids to prove that we’re way better than we played over there last time,” Autrey said. “Friday night we should get to play in a good environment. We need to stick to what we do and not try to do too much.”

The Tigers’ season isn’t at stake Friday night — they’ve already clinched a playoff spot, so the postseason games will be bigger. But this is a good preview of what to expect in the playoffs.

The Tigers are hoping for a vocal and involved crowd Friday night just like the one they faced in Whitehouse.

“It’s exactly like a one-game playoff,” Autrey said. “Basically it boils down to this is why we do what we do.”

The Tigers have momentum that comes with 23 wins. They played with an enthusiasm Tuesday night that was a notch above where it’s been most of the season.

Autrey likes that.

“We have a long way to go,” he said. “Enthusiasm is not something you have in a game. It’s how you go about your business every day, in class, in batting practice, taking infield.

“We still think we can come together as a team. And if we keep getting closer as a group, there’s no telling how far this team can go.”

Tigers (23-5-1, 7-1) vs. Whitehouse (19-8, 8-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Price Field

Mound matchup: Corsicana’s Holden Grounds vs. Whitehouse’s Patrick Mahomes

First meeting: Whitehouse won

3-1 despite Grounds’ 1-hitter

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