Written by Corbett Smith
Kyle Johnston, Player of the Year: Flower Mound ace was untouchable in playoffs
For the second straight season, Flower Mound was paired with Hurst L.D. Bell — a team known for being giant killers — in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Flower Mound senior Kyle Johnston felt its sting the year before, roughed up for five runs in relief of a 10-4 bi-district loss in Game 3 that sent the 2013 District 5-5A champions packing.
Johnston and his teammates wanted redemption.
“We were trying to show everyone that this was a totally different ballclub,” he said. “That we have each other’s backs … by being there for each other, finding ways to score, playing sound defense, having great pitching ... putting it all together.”
The SportsDayHS player of the year did that, and much more. He orchestrated a phenomenal postseason run, grabbing opening-game wins in five consecutive weekends as Flower Mound claimed the Class 5A title.
After posting a no-decision in a Game 1 loss to L.D. Bell, Johnston — a Texas signee — didn’t take another misstep. He closed out the L.D. Bell series with a save and got on a roll, going 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA, 60 strikeouts and just eight walks.
His season totals were equally astounding. Using a low-90s fastball, a curveball and changeup, Johnston went 10-2 with four saves, 129 strikeouts, a 0.57 ERA and 0.58 WHIP.
“Right as we beat [Bell], we started gaining momentum, thinking ‘We can do this, nothing’s impossible,’ ” Johnston said.
To prove his point, the 5-11 senior tossed a perfect game against South Grand Prairie to start the area round, striking out 16.
And when Flower Mound faced cross-town rival Flower Mound Marcus in the Region I final, Johnston was again untouchable, throwing a five-inning no-hitter. He sent Flower Mound to the state final with another masterful performance in the 5A semifinals, allowing a run and four hits to Pearland in a complete-game win.
“I couldn’t imagine any better way to end a senior season, going out with a bang like that,” he said.