HOUSTON AREA BASEABALL COACHES ASSOCIATION (HABCA) ALL STAR GAME
December 31, 2012
As most of you, I usually do some cleaning at the end of the year. While cleaning out my camera I discovered the attached photo of Ross McWhorter, Joshua Boothe and Cheo Jauregui from this summer's Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association All Star Game at Reckling Park located on the Rice University campus.
Ross and Cheo had been invited to play this summer while Joshua had the opportunity to play last summer. As I looked over the photo, I became extremely sentimental regarding these three young men. They have all played a major role in putting the Thunder program on the map with their commitment to homeschool baseball. Hopefully, these three young men represent a long line of Thunder players to be chosen to play in the HABCA All Star game. What a blessing their high school careers were to me.
As I looked over the photo, I could not help but think about other players who were never given the chance to play but deserved it. However, those same players made it possible for Ross, Josh and Cheo to have the opportunity to play in this prestigious event. Every year since I became a member of HABCA, I have submitted players for consideration only to finally breakthrough in Joshua's senior year. I can't help but think that the sacrifice and consistent play of those many players before Joshua paved the way for other Thunder players to be recognized in such a way.
This will be my seventh spring to coach in the Thunder program. During that time I have coached many great players that have deserved the same recognition as the players above but never received the same opportunity. I would like to take a moment to recall their names for you: J.W. Harger, B.J. Pinedo, Aaron Zwahr, Philip Berzins, T.C. Cooper, Joe Cavicchi & Ben Distefano. There are others that may be missing from this list and certainly many more very good players that helped build the Thunder program. However, in my mind, the above players deserved to be a part of the HABCA All Star game just as Ross, Joshua and Cheo. Hopefully, they share in the achievement of Ross, Joshua and Cheo as they clearly laid the path for them and future Thunder players with their sacrifice.
Thank you all Thunder alumni for your commitment to our program and the sacrifices you made on behalf of others following you.
December 31, 2012
I recently had the pleasure of having dinner with a long time friend and his wife. This friend has discipled me over that last 20 years and ranks in my top five of the most Godly men I have ever met in my life. Additionally, this man is an avid sports fan and used to be a professional tennis player/coach prior to his current career. Thankfully, this gives us much to discuss outside of my personal struggles.
As we discussed one of my favorites topics over dinner, baseball, he disappeared only to return a few minutes later with an article he had clipped from the newspaper approximately 20 years ago. The article was about a player Chuckie Carr and his manager Phil Garner with the Milwaukee Brewers. Evidently, Chuckie was released for refusing to take a 2-0 pitch during a game per Garner's instructions. Chuckie's response was "that ain't Chuckie's game. Chuckie hacks on 2-0".
My buddy and I laughed so hard we cried. First, it helps you understand why Chuckie was so "well traveled" as he played for five major league teams from 1990-1997 including our own Astros. In those eight years, he hit .254 and played mostly centerfield. In my mind, he was an average major league player. Alot of average major league players hang around for a while because they are team players. Obviously, Chuckie did not think much of Garner's request to take 2-0 pitch which landed him on the next plane out of Milwaukee.
As my buddy and I discussed this article, we pondered the selfishness of players in society today and years ago. The lack of commitment to your team and teammates, family, school work or even your spouse utlimately leads to severe consequences. In Chuckie's case, a plane trip home or to his next team. At least until the next 2-0 count.
Are you a Chuckie Carr?
THUNDER TO PLAY JAPAN
December 31, 2012
That is right, you read it correctly. I have been asked to bring the Thunder varsity to Woodlands High School on January 15, 2013 @ 5pm to play baseball against a team of Japanese High School players visiting the United States in January! What a great opportunity for the Thunder program! I hope every Thunder player and family at all levels will plan on attending the game to show support for the USA, Homeschooling, the Thunder and baseball.
Please note that Woodlands High School has graciously offered their field for this international event. However, there will be a charge to get inside the gate. There will also be concessions available.
This is a once in a lifetime event. I hope you all will be there in support of the Thunder program.
THUNDER PLAYER FEATURED
November 4, 2012
Kyle Kitchen had the opportunity to share his passion for baseball with the readers of Ultimate Memorial. You can access the article here.
Student loves family, God and baseball
October 18, 2012 12:01 am
Kyle Kitchen is a 14-year-old homeschool student who is an active member of the Bridge-Point Bible Church youth group ministry in Memorial. He loves to play baseball and hopes to one day play for a major league team. Kitchen, who plays baseball for the West Houston Thunder, says that before each game, “I like to pray to God to give me an opportunity to help my team.”
SCHOOL: Homeschooled; attends BridgePoint Bible Church in Memorial
ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT: “Pitching a no-hitter in (seventh) grade and hitting my first home run in (sixth) grade.”
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: “Playing junior varsity baseball for my homeschool team.”
HOBBIES AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: “Collecting baseball cards is a hobby that I enjoy, and going to church Wednesday nights.”
FAVORITE THING TO DO AFTER SCHOOL: “Probably just sitting at home playing Call of Duty.”
WORST BASEBALL INJURY: “Breaking my hand on a linedrive back at the mound.”
INSPIRATION: “My family and God. Couldn’t live without either one of them. They are very vital parts in my life.”
AMBITION: “Becoming a Major League Baseball player, or if that doesn’t pan out I would want to be possibly in sports medicine or something involving sports. “
JUNIOR VARSITY THUNDER PICK UP A WIN
October 23, 2012
Houston, TX – The West Houston Thunder won their first game of the fall season tonight at Baseball USA at twilight against the Katy Cubs.
The Thunder fell behind 2-0 after 2 innings, a score that held up through 3 innings. In the top of the 4th inning, the Thunder began coming back by working walks and producing timely hits, which resulted in scoring five runs. Going to the bottom of the fourth, the Thunder led 5-2, but the Cubs came back in the bottom half scoring 2 of their own runs to bring the score to 5-4. The Thunder put two insurance runs on the board with a sac fly and error by the Cub’s shortstop. The Cub’s went quietly in the bottom half of the inning with the final out being recorded on a hard hit ball to shortstop.
Many players throughout the evening made key plays and hits. This was truly a team effort. Kyle Kitchen pitched three strong innings to get the win and Elliot Huddle finished the Cubs off with the save. Trent Cavicchi, Sean McIntyre, Gavin Albright , Will Insull and Moshe Horne turned in key hits.
The Thunder looks to build on this victory on Monday, October 29 against the FPR Hooks.
THUNDER FALL TO SOUTH TEXAS SLIDERS
October 8, 2012
Houston, TX – The West Houston Thunder lost to the South Texas Sliders last night at Baseball USA. The Thunder coming off back to back 2-0 losses didn’t have what it took to outscore the Sliders.
Sean McIntyre scored the Thunder’s lone run in the 4th inning after a throwing error by the Sliders Catcher. McIntyre led off the inning with a solid single to Left Field, moved into scoring position on a passed ball and stole 3rd two pitches later. James McCallum was stranded at 3rd after a walk, steal and advance on the Catcher’s throwing error. Moshe Horne collected the only other hit the Thunder had on the night, an infield single. Austin Powers lined out hard to Right Field to end the game with the Right Fielder making a nice diving catch.
After playing strong games defensively over the last two games, the Thunder took a step back last night and made mistakes all over the field. With two weeks before the next game, the Thunder will spend their practice time working on fundamentals and hitting.
THUNDER FALL SHORT IN 2-0 GAME, AGAIN
October 1, 2012
Houston, TX – The West Houston Thunder Junior Varsity started off October with a hard fought defensive/pitching battle against the Cy-Ridge Rams, losing 2-0. Elliot Huddle got the start, pitching well through 3 innings giving way to Kyle Kitchen, who pitched another 2 2/3. The two combined for 4 Ks, 6 BB, 5 hits and 1 earned run.
James McCallum made two nice running catches in right field to end the 1st inning. In the 2nd inning, Ronnie Brown, CF, came up throwing to hit his cut-off man, who threw to Matthew Najvar to tag out a Cy-Ridge runner at the plate. The Thunder made good defensive plays over the next few innings and hung tough against the Rams.
The Thunder had two scoring opportunities, but could not get the key hits to get runs across. In the 3rd inning, the Thunder had the bases loaded after Mackey Branning walked, Kyle Kitchen was hit for the second time in the game and Elliot Huddle walked, but a run evaded the Thunder with a popup to 2nd base. Over the next 3 innings, the Thunder could not get a base runner on.
Monday’s game brings the Junior Varsity’s record to 0-3-1. In 4 games, the Thunder have tied 10-10 and lost 7-5, 2-0 and 2-0. The Junior Varsity is looking for their first win next Monday and with practice and improvement, they will get to where they need to be soon.
THUNDER FALL SHORT IN 2-0 GAME
September 25, 2012
Houston, TX – The West Houston Thunder Junior Varsity played a hard fought game coming up short on a 2-0 score against Sandlot Baseball. Gavin Albright pitched 4 strong innings, giving up no runs. Will Insull, in his first pitching action in a year and a half, pitched well and Elliot Huddle finished up as time ran out by striking out two batters in 2/3 of an inning.
The Thunder played good defense making the easy plays and going all out on the tougher ones. Kyle Kitchen cut down a run at the plate in the 2 run 5th inning and Insull got out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout.
The best scoring chance for the Thunder was quickly wiped out on a hard ground ball by David Stokley that resulted in a double play. Sandlot’s pitching was a little too much for the Thunder to handle, but the team worked some walks, went deep into counts and swung the bat well.
This was one of the better games played this season and gives the Thunder something to build on for next week’s game.
FALL ROSTERS ANNOUNCED
August 26, 2012
The Thunder fall roster has been decided and the teams are as follows:
Varsity-Calvin Pawley, Sam Giuffre, Colin Powers, Moshi Horne, Sean McIntyre and Andrew Granger.
Junior Varsity-Kyle Kitchen, Trent Cavicchi, Elliot Huddle, Mark Claypool, Matthew Najvar, Mackey Branning, Ronnie Brown, Jalen Powell, Will Insull, James McCallum, Austin Powers, Gavin Albright and David Stokley.
Freshman-Josh McDonald, Hunter Rush, Michael Claypool, Fredric Hinkle, Mason Chavez, Trevor Pawley, Daniel Johnson, Aaron Johnson, Chi Horne, Micah Yohe, Daniel Yohe and Gregory Gleason.
The varsity will play at Baseball USA under the name of Houston Homeschool. The junior varsity will play at Baseball USA under the West Houston Thunder name. The freshman will play every Tuesday night at Memorial Ashford Little League beginning September 4.
FALL FEES ANNOUNCED
August 26, 2012
The fall fees are as follows:
New player uniform fee (jersey and cap)-$75
Please make payments payable to WHHSA and forward to PO Box 680, Katy, TX 77492. All new players must also complete the Baseball Application, Liability Release and Authorization for Medical Treatment and forward to the same address.
If you have any questions, please contact Coach Boothe.
THUNDER ALUMNUS BEN DISTEFANO DRAFTED TO MLB
Ben Distefano (P, C, 3B), a 2012 graduate, was drafted by the New York Mets in the 37th round of the Major League Baseball draft. He is the first Thunder player ever to be drafted to the MLB. Ben plans to continue his education and playing career in the fall with Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas.
Congratulation to Ben for this amazing accomplishment!
JAUREGUI AND McWHORTER NAMED TO 2012 HABCA 4A NORTH ALL STAR TEAM
Katy, Tx. – West Houston Thunder Baseball head coach Ray Boothe is pleased to announce that Cheo Jauregui and Ross McWhorter have been named to the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association (HABCA) 2012 4A North All Star Team.
Eliseo “Cheo” Jauregui (6-2, 225, P, C, 3B Spring, Tx.) has been a four-year starter for the West Houston Thunder varsity baseball team. Jauregui hit for a .369 average, an OPS of 0.881, and led the Thunder with 26 RBI during his senior campaign in the 2012 season.
Ross McWhorter (6-1, 195, SS, OF Pearland, Tx.) has been a three-year starter for the Thunder and has signed to play baseball at Galveston College. McWhorter hit for a .381 average, an OPS of 1.219, and hit 5 home runs and had 17 RBI from his lead off position in the Thunder line up this season.
The Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association 2012 4A All Star Game will be held at 4:30 p.m. on June 27, 2012 at Reckling Park on the Rice University Campus.
Jauregui and McWhorter led the West Houston Thunder to a final four finish in the 2012 HWSA World Series (www.hswa.net) in Auburndale, FL for the second time in program history.
THUNDER TAKE 4TH PLACE AT HWS
The West Houston Thunder varsity team had a very strong showing in the Homeschool World Series (HWS) to place 4th in a strong field of 27 homeschool teams throughout the nation, which included 3 other teams from the greater Houston area and a total of 8 teams from Texas.
On the first day of tournament play, the Thunder team dropped the first game to a very good team and pitcher in the Charlotte Stampede. Not a good start, but not an indication of this team’s talent and desire.
On day 2, the Thunder squad rolled up 2 impressive victories against the Nashville Monarchs and the Montgomery Saints to round out pool play and make the round of 16.
After an off day, the Thunder had a re-match against the Charlotte Stampede who beat the Thunder in the first day of pool play, but the Thunder rebounded and sealed another impressive victory to assure a top 8 finish.
The quarter-final game was played against the Memphis Eagles. The Thunder dug deep to earn the victory in an impressive late game under the lights and moved on to the semi-finals.
In the semi-final game the Thunder hung on, but were ultimately beaten by the eventual tournament champions, Fort Worth Riders. The Thunder team showed a lot of tenacity and spirit to make a deep run in this year’s HWS.
Great job by the players and coaches to earn this achievement.
Congratulations to the Thunder players who were selected to the all-tournament team: Ross McWhorter, Cheo Jauregui, and Moses Smith. Well done!
The annual tournament in Auburndale, Florida is run by the Homeschool World Series Association (HWSA) that endeavors to promote and coordinate high school (varsity level) baseball competition among homeschool students throughout North America in a distinctly Christian environment.