Breaking News
More () »

Whitehouse Baseball team continues to overcome adversity

It's been anything but an easy road for the Wildcats, especially for their head coach.

WHITEHOUSE, Texas — Many times, the road to success looks easy from the outside. On the inside, the obstacles and struggles along the way often go unnoticed.

The Whitehouse Baseball team has faced its fair share of adversity this year. During the course of a long season, the injuries to their starting lineup began to pile up.

"I had minor arm problems that caused soreness where I'd have to ice before and after games," said infielder Collin McLemore. "Our last district game, my tricep tore during one of our plays at shortstop."

"I was in the outfield and I strained my ACL," said outfielder Luke Caussey. "I was out for about a month and came back a week before district."

It's always a tough blow to lose starters, especially in a season with championship aspirations. At one point, the Wildcats were ranked #1 in the state for 5A. Now, they still remain in the hunt, playing in the regional semifinals.

Last year, their season ended earlier than they would have liked. However, it was unforeseen circumstances that created the biggest adversity of all.

During the second round of playoffs last year, head coach Greg Branch was preparing to help lead his team on a deep run. He never expected what would happen next.

"I woke up one morning and my leg was hurting. By the end of the week, I could barely walk, my leg was dragging. I had to have emergency surgery," said Branch. "Long story short, I ended up with four surgeries. I had post-op infections, blood clots down my legs. At one point in time, I was literally fighting for my life."

Branch ended up spending a total of 21 days in the hospital battling and trying to recover. During that time, Whitehouse's season came to an end. However, it wasn't baseball that the team was focused on. Instead, it was the well-being of their coach, who meant the world to them.

"Thank God, he saved me. And honestly, these kids brought the energy back to me. At one point, I didn't know if I was going to walk back into this school building," Branch said. "These kids revived me, and the Lord has blessed me to come back and to do something with these kids. I don't know how the story is going to end, but I'm glad I'm here to tell it."

One year later, the Wildcats still have their sights set on a state championship. The bats are still swinging, and the energy is still there. If all goes the way they planned, they'll be hoisting the big trophy in a few more weeks.

But win or lose, Coach Branch said the lessons they've learned and how they've grown on and off the field is the most valuable thing of all.

"These kids, they came and saw me in the hospital. They saw me at the house, they sat by me by the bed, some of them brought me food. It just shows again the makeup of these men," said Branch. "that's what they've become, they've become men. And if anything else, if we win a championship, if we don't win a championship... they've turned into really good men and I'm proud of that."

Before You Leave, Check This Out