WHITEWRIGHT — Ryne Godbey has spent four years strapping on his catcher’s gear for the Tigers and was all geared up to help Whitewright reach the playoffs for the third time in his career and the second round for the first time in a decade.

But while things did not end the way Godbey and a strong senior core wanted, he was able to look ahead to his future in the sport as he announced his decision to play baseball for Southwestern University.

He chose the Division III program in Georgetown over El Paso Community College and Paris Junior College after he first caught the eye of the Pirates’ recruiting coordinator at the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Showcase last summer.

“I went on two visits and the second time I got to watch a practice, meet with the players,” said Godbey, who also participates in football and track. “I loved it. I love the way the head coach goes about things.”

Whitewright was 6-4 overall and 0-1 in District 10-3A play when the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. Godbey was hitting .517 with four doubles, five home runs, 17 RBI and scored 14 times.

The Tigers were about to get into district play full-time right after spring break and looking to make a second straight playoff appearance.

“It is super frustrating but I am very blessed that I get to play in college,” Godbey said. “Our team has pretty much been together since freshman year and we were going to have a big year. It definitely stings.”

Godbey was the first-team all-district catcher as a junior, hitting .375 with six doubles, two homers, 19 RBI, 15 runs and 21 walks while Whitewright was the 10-3A runner-up to state semifinalist Van Alstyne and finished with a 17-6 record after a bi-district series loss against region semifinalist Gunter.

It was the second time in three years Gunter knocked out Whitewright in the first round. Godbey jumped right into the starting lineup as a freshman to help earn that playoff spot and the Tigers ended with an 8-20 record.

In 2018, Godbey was an honorable mention all-district pick. Whitewright just missed out on the playoffs with a fifth-place finish in the district standings. The Tigers went 9-11 overall and 6-6 in 10-3A play and would have had a play-in game for the final postseason berth if Howe or Farmersville had lost their final games. Both won and Whitewright was left out.

Southwestern was 7-6 overall and and set to open Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference action when its season was cancelled in mid-March. Van Alstyne’s Tyler Wilson was a freshman pitcher on the roster.

The Pirates went 24-19 in 2019, which was the program’s first winning season since 2008 and an improvement over an 18-24 mark the prior season, and 10-8 in conference play to be the fourth seed for the SCAC Tournament.

“Their catcher was a senior last year and they have a senior to be and a junior to be in front of me. They’ve said the best player will start. I may have a chance to split time,” Godbey said. “I wanted a place witha winning tradition, somewhere that would have competition and push me to be better.”