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Thompson, Hernandez, Baxter lead Heath to 8-6 win over Rockwall

(By Aaron Williams) (Photos by  HEATH – The Heath Hawks moved a little closer to their third consecutive District 10-4A baseball championship on Friday with an 8-6 defeat of their cross-town rival, the Rockwall Yellowjackets.

With the win, Heath opened a two-game lead on both Rockwall and the Highland Park Scots with only three regular season contests remaining. McKinney North is currently three games behind the front-running Hawks.

Rockwall came into the contest with an opportunity to pull even in the standings and to exact some revenge for the 8-0 shellacking Heath handed to them in the first game back in March. Rockwall entered that game as the number two ranked team in the state of Texas according to the Texas High School Coaches Association rankings but they were thoroughly dismantled as Hawk ace Jake Thompson hurled a one hit shutout at them and racked up 16 strikeouts.

Friday’s contest featured a lot of action on the base paths for Rockwall during the first five innings but none of those runners were able to score. Hawk starter Jake Baxter repeatedly wiggled out of jams by making clutch pitches in key moments. Baxter kept the Jackets off the scoreboard until Rockwall pushed one run across in the top of the fifth which proved to be Baxter’s last inning of work.

The Hawk offense tallied a first inning run and followed it up with three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings while the final score came on a solo bomb by Jake Thompson (shown above left) in the bottom of the sixth.  Heath would eventually tally 10 hits as Baxter, Thompson, and Jovan Hernandez (shown above right) contributed two hits each and the trio combined for 5 RBI. Bret Boswell chipped in with a RBI single and Austin Stewart had a run-scoring double. Thompson’s second hit was also a run-scoring double.

Rockwall put a scare into the Hawks with a five-run uprising in the top of the seventh as Heath Coach Greg Harvey ran through three pitchers to get the last three outs of the game. Tyler Ivey and Ryan Kinney each ran into some control issues as they combined for five walks, despite not allowing any hits. Jovan Hernandez came in and also walked a batter and gave up a two-run double before he got Brewer Money to fly out to deep left field to end the game. The Jackets fought hard to the very end but the deficit was just too huge to overcome.

A victory Tuesday night will allow Heath to clinch at least a share of the District championship as they host the Wylie Pirates at 7:30 pm at the Hawk’s Nest. Heath is anxious for another shot at the Pirates as Wylie handed them a 7-0 loss in the first round. Jake Thompson will start on the mound for Heath as he tries to improve his record to a perfect 8-0.

Rockwall will travel to Wylie East as they attempt to remain in at least a tie for the runner-up spot in 10-4A with the Scots of Highland Park.

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