WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Rockwall-Heath’s Jovan Hernandez and Jake Thompson rose to the occasion in the best-of-3 series against Waxahachie and were huge parts of sealing the deal in the 5-3 win in Game 3.
Hernandez and Thompson accounted for all but three of Rockwall-Heath’s 16 runs through the three-game series, with each hitting two home runs. Hernandez knocked in what would be the game-winning run in Game 3 on a three-run homer and Thompson picked up the save, pitching nearly perfect in the final two innings.
“They’re just big-time players,” coach Greg Harvey “They’re clutch players and they live for that moment. A lot of kids, especially high school age kids, will crumble under pressure like that. Those guys -– they get better when the pressure is on like that.”
Hernandez came up big in the top of the fifth with his team down 2-1, stroking a line shot over the left-field fence that scored three. Both baserunners reached on walks.
Rockwall-Heath added one more in the sixth on a throwing error by Waxahachie shortstop David Martinelli that sailed over the first-base dugout, allowing Russell Hughes to score from second.
Jake Baxter started Game 3 for Rockwall-Heath, allowing three runs in five innings pitched on five hits and three walks.
Thompson was given the ball in the sixth to close the game and the series after pitching six innings on Thursday and playing a full game in the field earlier Saturday. He relied on a slider to strike out three and see just two over the minimum in two innings. He said his fastball just didn’t have the same gas after a busy weekend on the diamond.
“I really didn’t have a whole lot in the tank because I threw six Thursday but I came out with everything that I had and did what I could.”
Rockwall-Heath will face Mesquite Poteet in the 4A regional final. Poteet beat Frisco Wakeland on Friday 10-2 in a single-elimination matchup.
“Great team.,” Harvey said of Poteet. “Great history. It’s going to be a tough battle. They’re definitely a round five opponent that’s going to give us some trouble and we’re going to have to be ready to play.”