It took Rockwall-Heath three straight trips to the regional finals to earn the chance to travel to Round Rock in quest of a state title.
Having shaken that weight off their back, the Hawks can focus on the success of their first trip to the UIL state baseball tournament in school history.
“It’s something we’ve been working for all year long and we’ve finally got over the hump of Round 5, but we’re ready to get back to work,” Rockwall-Heath coach Greg Harvey said.
Now it is up to Rockwall-Heath to break another streak weighing down Dallas-area baseball teams – a 10-year run without a Class 4A state championship.
Plano West was the last area team to celebrate a state championship, beating Southlake Carroll for the Class 5A crown in 2008. However, 2002 was the last time a Metroplex team won it all in 4A when Southlake Carroll, then a classification lower, beat Corpus Christi Calallen 11-4 at Dell Diaomond.
“It’s something that’s kind of strange to me because the level of competition in North Texas is so strong," Harvey said. "We’re just going to go try and win the semifinal game and if we do it would be great to bring it back to North Texas. It would be great to break the streak.”
Rockwall-Heath (34-9) faces Montgomery (29-13) in a semifinal matchup at Dell Diamond on Thursday at 4 p.m. Austin Lake Travis (33-10) faces Cleburne (29-10) at 7 p.m. in the other semifinal.
Hawks ace Jake Thompson will get the start just days after he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the second round of the MLB draft (91st overall). Thompson has made a verbal commitment to play for TCU.
Harvey said Thompson would wait until after the state tournament to make his decision to go pro or play for the Horned Frogs.
If Jovan Hernadez is not needed to pitch in the semifinal game and Rockwall-Heath wins, Harvey said he’d give the nod to the senior for the state final.
Harvey said his team would attend 2A semifinals at Dell Diamond on Wednesday night to get a feel for the state tournament vibe before Thursday’s game.
Regardless, it’s a special trip for the Hawks that has been three years in the making.
“We’re excited, but ready to go back to work now,” Harvey said.