Written by Corbett Smith
Jake Thompson keeps Heath's title dream alive with gem against Wakeland
MCKINNEY – Before the series, Rockwall-Heath senior pitcher Jake Thompson said that he’d be satisfied with his high school career even if Heath didn’t get past Frisco Wakeland.
After all, he and fellow four-year starter Jovan Hernandez had won 135 games at Heath heading into Game 3 of the Class 4A Region II final.
But Thompson’s performance showed that he wanted something a little more.
In its third-straight trip to the regional final, Heath advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history with a series-clinching 9-2 win over Wakeland at McKinney Boyd.
Thompson struck out 12 in a complete-game win, hitting a punctuation-point two-run home run after Heath (34-8) broke the game open with a four-run third.
“I think it’s fitting, for me and Jovan both,” Thompson said. “We’ve been in this program on varsity for so long, just done everything we possibly could do for this program. I think it’s a great way to go out, regardless if we end up state champs or not.”
A TCU signee with a good chance to be a high draft pick in Monday’s MLB amateur draft, Thompson was rarely challenged after the first, with seven of his first eight outs registered on strikeouts.
Wakeland coach Barry Rose played a hunch after winning the post-Game 2 coin toss, electing to play as the visiting team in order to take initiative against the hard-throwing right hander.
Wakeland (30-13) did just that, scoring two first-inning runs off Thompson. Arkansas signee Willie Schwanke hit a RBI double, later scoring on a passed ball.
But the perfect start didn’t last.
Heath scratched out single runs in the first and second innings, before taking the lead in the third.
Wakeland starter Cameron Brockhoff – who entered the game with a 3-2 record, with all three wins coming in Game 3 starts in the playoffs – allowed three hits, three walks and a hit by pitch in the third inning. Heath No. 9 hitter Austin Stewart hit a two-run double to chase Brockhoff from the game.
“We’ve been so close for two years in a row,” Heath coach Greg Harvey said. “To finally get over this hump ... I almost can’t put words to it.”
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