Written by Corbett Smith
Rockwall-Heath pounds Frisco Wakeland ace to take Game 1, 8-1
MCKINNEY — Some of Rockwall-Heath’s veterans — Jovan Hernandez, Bret Boswell and Jake Thompson — remembered how soundly Frisco Wakeland beat them in the 2010 regional final.
The trio, along with the rest of the Heath team, played like they carried a grudge.
“For one game, we played like we were definitely out with a purpose,” Rockwall-Heath coach Greg Harvey said. “We went out, and did what we’ve been doing lately — we hit the ball well.”
Heath (33-7) pounded out 12 hits off one of Wakeland’s aces, Hayden Nixon, cruising to an 8-1 win Thursday in Game 1 of the Class 4A Region II final.
What was expected to be a pitcher’s duel between Nixon and Heath starter Jovan Hernandez ended early.
A two-out rally by Heath in the top of the first was capped by a three-run double by Timbo Duncan.
“I think we set the tone early,” Hernandez said.
While Nixon found his composure in the middle innings, striking out five of seven batters at one point, the damage was done.
Hernandez pitched a complete game, allowing just four hits.
“To jump out to an early lead, it did a lot of things for our hitters,” Harvey said. “It gave them some confidence and it gave Jovan a little breathing room.”
Nixon, who entered the game with an 0.65 ERA, had allowed only six earned runs all season.
Leaving with one out in the top of the seventh after a two-RBI double by Grayson Lewis, Nixon saw that total matched in a single game.
“We missed too much with our location tonight,” Wakeland coach Barry Rose said.
Hernandez pitched out of some trouble in the third, walking leadoff hitter Grant Devore and hitting Cameron Brockhoff to start the inning.
But a hit-and-run play called by Rose for Dan Herrington didn’t work; Devore was thrown out at third, and Herrington later struck out. Hernandez didn’t allow a run until a RBI single by Willie Schwanke in the sixth.
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