Written by Matt Wixon
Flower Mound ace gets past rough start, strikes out 14 in Region I semi opener win over Carroll
FLOWER MOUND — After allowing four runs before getting the second out of the first inning Thursday, Kyle Johnston looked like he was falling apart. Instead, everything was about to come together for the Flower Mound senior.
Johnston, a Texas signee, didn’t allow another run and struck out 14 as Flower Mound beat Southlake Carroll, 6-4, in Game 1 of their best-of-3 series. Game 2 of the Class 5A Region I semifinal is 7:30 p.m. Friday at Southlake Carroll.
Flower Mound (29-10) responded with four runs in the bottom of the first against Carroll’s Garrett Hale, who started in place of the Dragons’ injured ace, Ben Leeper. The game stayed tied at 4-4 until the bottom of the third, when Mitch Andrews led off with a walk, and Sean Wymer and Tim Millard singled to load the bases.
Noah Hill’s RBI single made the score 5-4, and Ryan Sloma lofted a fly ball that dropped behind second base to push the lead to 6-4. Michael Basler relieved Hale and got two strikeouts to end the inning.
But the two-run deficit was huge against Johnston — at least after he found his groove. Carroll (30-5) had a 4-0 lead after just six hitters, and with Hale on first base with one out in the first, the Dragons’ Joe Heineman crushed a pitch that had home run distance but was about 20 feet foul in left field.
After that, Johnston was in command. He struck out Heineman and Kameron Ramage to end Carroll’s first, and he didn’t allow another hit until the fourth. After Drew Brown singled to give Carroll a baserunner in the seventh, Johnston struck out Nic Motley and Barry Casey to end the game.