WHITEHOUSE — While fourth-ranked Rockwall-Heath saved its ace, Jake Thompson, in Game 1, the TCU signee still made his presence felt Thursday night.
Thompson went 2 for 2 with three walks and a home run and catcher Jake Bledsoe went 4 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs to lead the Hawks to a 15-5 win over No. 5 Whitehouse in six innings at Wildcat Field in Game 1 of the Class 4A Region II semifinals.
Thompson, a 6-4, 235-pound senior who boasts a microscopic 0.34 ERA and an astronomical 117 strikeouts, will take the mound in Game 2, which starts at 5:30 p.m. today in Heath. Game 3, if necessary, will follow Game 2.
Rockwall-Heath (31-8) led 15-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Whitehouse (28-5) scored five runs on three hits in the final half inning to give the Hawks something to think about on the drive home.
The Hawks racked up 16 hits, chasing Wildcats sophomore starter Patrick Mahomes (8-3) one batter into the second. Bret Boswell had two hits and three RBIs, Grayson Lewis had an RBI double among his two hits and Jovan Hernandez chipped in a pair of singles for Rockwall-Heath.
Hernandez’s biggest contribution came on the mound, where he held Whitehouse to one hit and no runs through five innings before he ran into trouble in the sixth with three walks. Hernandez struck out three and walked five in the complete-game effort.
Alex Rostis had a two-run double to power the Wildcats at the plate. Mahomes reached on all three plate appearances and Derek Clemons added a sacrifice fly.
The Hawks struck early against Mahomes with patient, two-strike hitting. The first two batters reached on opposite-field singles with two strikes before Thompson drew a full-count walk.
The Wildcats had a chance to turn a double play on the next batter but the throw to first was low and first baseman Parker Jenkins was unable to scoop it up as the first run scored.
Boswell and Bledsoe then followed with RBI singles to give Rockwall-Heath a 3-0 lead after one inning.
After the 40-pitch first inning, Mahomes faced just one more batter in the second, walking nine-hole hitter Clayton Rasbeary (2 for 3, two RBIs). Mahomes threw a pick-off attempt into right field, allowing Rasbeary to advance to third and ending Mahomes’ day on the mound. Rasbeary later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Baxter and Timbo Duncan later drove in a run with a single to make it 5-0 after two.
Rockwall-Heath scored in every inning, with its two lowest outputs coming in the third and fourth when Bledsoe and Thompson, respectively, went yard.
The Hawks were looking for a knock-out blow with a run-rule finish after five, but stranded the bases loaded after Whitehouse sophomore Jake Parker came on in relief to record the final two outs in a 9-0 game.
Instead, Rockwall-Heath laid out the haymaker in the sixth, scoring six runs on three hits and four walks. Rasbeary’s two-run double to the wall in straight-away center highlighted the frame.
Though they trailed 15-0, the Wildcats dug in to put across five in the bottom of the sixth, stranding a potential game-lengthening runner at second. Correy Davis and Mahomes drew walks to set up Rostis’ double into the left-center gap. Parker and Jared Raabe also had singles in the inning.
Thompson’s (9-0) likely Game 2 opponent is sophomore Ryan Cheatham (5-1).
The winner of this series faces either Frisco Wakeland or Waxahachie in the regional final.
No. 4 Rockwall-Heath 15, No. 5 Whitehouse 5
Class 4A Region II Semifinals
Rockwall 321 126 — 15 16 1
Whitehouse 000 005 — 5 4 2
Jovan Hernandez and Jake Bledsoe. Patrick Mahomes, Michael Nuon (2), Jake Parker (5), Nic Costlow (6) and Derek Clemons.
W – Hernandez (5-1). L – Mahomes (8-3).
2B – RH: Grayson Lewis, Clayton Rasbeary. WH: Alex Rostis. HR – RH: Jake Bledsoe (solo, third), Jake Thompson (solo, fourth).
RECORDS — Rockwall-Heath 31-8; Whitehouse 28-5.
NEXT UP — Game 2: 5:30 p.m. today, Heath. Game 3, if necessary, to follow.