By Rusty Hitt
Special to the Daily Sun
Corsicana — The Corsicana Tigers ran away from the Whitehouse Wildcats with a 7 run 6th inning to defeat the defending state semifinalist 11-3 Friday night in a very emotional game. The tigers managed to score a run in the 4 of the first 5 innings to hold a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the 6th when the flood gates opened.
Trevor Nolen started the game for the Tigers and picked up the win. He pitched 5 innings and and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and showed an ability to pitch around potential trouble. The Tigers fell behind in the first after Nolen gave up a one out walk to the number two hitter Caleb McNulty. McNulty went from 1st to 3rd on a wild pitch and then scored as Nolen allowed a slow roller off the end of the bat of Pat Mahomes to go under his glove and the throw to the plate was not in time to get McNulty. Tanner Roach followed a strikeout by starting pitcher Ryan Cheatham with the first of his three hits to give Whitehouse runners at the corners with two outs. Nolen then got Peyton Conser to hit a soft line drive to Bobby Lopez to end the threat. The Tigers answered in the bottom of the first when Layton Wolver lead off with a line drive up the middle for a hit. Bobby Lopez followed with a walk. The runners advanced on a past ball. Joe Vasquez then hit a ground ball to the pitcher that looked like it would score a run but Cheatham made a diving stop to hold the runner at 3rd and get the out. Trevor Nolen got the RBI on a ground out to short. The Tigers took the lead in the 2nd inning after three consecutive walks by Cheatham who was then pulled. Conser came into the game to get Wolver to pop up to short right field. This brought up hot hitting Bobby Lopez up with one out and the bases loaded. Lopez hit a laser shot to left field which was caught. Rhett Holcomb tagged and scored from 3rd base but on th eplay Hunter Hayes was caught running from 2nd where he had apparently failed to tag up and was called out. After some controversy and discussion among the umpires The Tigers were awarded the run. Whitehouse coach Derrick Jenkins was upset after this decision and was eventually restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game. The Tigers added a run in the 4th as Carlos Vega came around to score after reaching on an error as the 3rd basemen had to hurry in fielding Vega's bunt. The Tigers could have had more as they had the bases loaded when Lopez hit a hard shot at the shortstop and Whitehouse was able to turn a double play. The Tigers added another run in the 5th after a leadoff double by Nolen who scored on a perfectly executed squeeze play by Vega. This run pushed the lead gave the Tigers a two run cushion as the Wildcats had scored in the top of the inning. The Wildcats then scored a run in the top of the 6th to cut the lead to 4-3 as Conser lead off the inning with a single off closer Corbin Hall. The freshman then walked Rex Swinney and the Wildcats looked to have something working with two on and no outs. Hall then induced a pop up to Lopez and a short fly ball in right to Jackson Kennemore. Coleman Patterson then had a single to drive in Conser but Hall would get McNulty to hit a fly ball to centerfield that Holomb was able to track down to end the threat.
Holding a one run lead the Tigers wanted to add an insurance run and were able to get that and much more. The Tigers sent 11 hitters to the plate during the inning. Holcomb lead off the inning with his third walk of the night. After a steal of 2nd by Holcomb, Hunter Hayes got a base hit a line drive up the middle. Kennemore then reached on his third walk of the night. Wolver picked up the RBI on a sacrifice fly to center giving the Tigers their 2 run advantage back. Lopez then walked to lad the bases. Vasquez hit a ground ball to short that looked like it would end the inning with another double play but the throw from shortstop Jake Parker pulled the first basemen off bag and the big inning was on. Nolen followed with his second double of the night which was the first of four consecutive hits by the Tigers. DJ Minniear had an infield single in the whole to the left side, senior Chance Schlenk then hit a ball through the whole between 3rd and short. Then Holcomb who lead off the inning with a walk hit a double off the wall to pick 2 RBI and finish the scoring. When it was over the Tigers had scored 7 runs on 5 hits in the inning and had benefitted from three Wildcat errors. Corbin Hall came on to strikeout the side in the 7th.
The Tigers took advantage of eleven walks in the game and four errors by the Wildcats. The Wildcat pitchers struggled all night with finding the strike zone giving up the free passes and only having one strikeout. The Tigers were extremely disciplined at the plate and maintained their composure in a big game against the Wildcats who started six seniors. But it was the more experienced and accomplished Wildcats that let the emotion of the game get to them. Teams often times take on the personality of their coach and that was apparent Friday night as the Wildcat coach Jenkins was restricted to the dugout for arguing and the Tigers took on the tenacious scrappy personality of Coach Autrey. While the Tigers used the emotion to improve their performance it was Whitehouse that let the pressure put on from the Tigers impact their play. The Tigers had ten different player score runs and eight different hitters to get hits for a true team effort in the win.
The Tigers go to 3-1 in district play and 16-5 overall and will play Jacksonville next Friday to finish out the first round of district play. District favorite and former #2 ranked Whitehouse falls to 1-3 in district play.