For the second time since 2012, Rockwall-Heath baseball players are waking up as State Champions. It was a battle of everything- all the way down to the student sections- as the Hawks played an intense game against Keller and came out on top. Rockwall-Heath Hawks topped Keller 4-3 to win the UIL Class 6A State Championship Game.
In true Heath fashion, the Hawks got on the board first as Kevil Bazzell hit n RBI single in the bottom of the first inning. It wasn't long before the Hawks' lineup put another on the board and led 2-0 after a wild pitch.
Keller's Braden Davis answered back as he his a leadoff single in the top of the second inning then proceeded to steal second, third, and home to score for the Indians. In the top of the third, the Indians took the 3-2 lead as Mike Dattalo drove Griffin Barton home.
It didn't take long for Heath to make their rally known, though. Karson Krowka scored on a sac-fly in Heath's half of the third inning to tie things up 3-3. From there, all scoring stopped as the defenses for both teams took the reigns into their own hands- pulling out all the stops to shut down any scoring.
Heath regains the lead with this Sac fly!
Keller-3#UILState #TXHSBaseball pic.twitter.com/EjYaTQNWvW
— VYPE DFW (@VYPEDFW) June 12, 2021
In the bottom of the sixth, Zach Rike watched as Caden Fiveash sent a sac-fly into the outfield, tagged up, and took the opportunity to score the final run of the game as Heath went up 4-3. Keller was unable to keep their season alive in the seventh inning. After taking over in the sixth inning and sitting down three batters, Fiveash finished the game for a win, trusting his defense to get the job done. "I knew that [Keller] could hit well, but I was going to let the defense work. I did get three strikeouts in the sixth, but that seventh inning I was like: I'm going to let the defense work. As you know, I got some pop-flies and we won," said Fiveash after the game.
After his game-winning sac-fly and two innings pitched for the Heath win, Fiveash was awarded the honor of MVP in a vote by the attending media. Fiveash recorded one hit and one RBI from the plate as well has three strikeouts from the mound while not allowing any runs. "It's surreal. It's breathtaking. It's almost a loss for words right now," Fiveash said in regards to the honor and state championship win. "I wouldn't be able to do it without this team. I'm so proud of these guys. We fought; we had the biggest, strongest grit on the team. We never stopped and I couldn't be more proud of these guys." Fiveash was never worried- even when Keller took the lead. He knew the team had been in that sort of sticky situation before and would be able to come out with a rally.
State Championship Preview (PHOTO GALLERY): Keller and Rockwall-Heath battle for the UIL Class 6A State Title
It's an all-DFW area UIL Class 6A baseball state championship game as Keller attempts to "win Texas" in their first-ever championship appearance and Rockwall-Heath fights for their first state title since 2012.
Senior pitcher Eric Hammond led the charge on Friday for the Indians as he dominated the game from the mound allowing only four hits and one run to defeat Houston Strake Jesuit 7-1. The USC signee recorded nine strikeouts in six innings. Keller took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning as junior Mike Dattalo drove senior Griffin Barton home with a sacrifice fly. With smart batting from Whit Thoms, Aidan Connors, and Dattalo, the Indians were able to secure the victory in the state semifinals.
With a goal to "win Texas," Keller has posted a 35-7 overall record this season and has only one more opponent standing between them and their goal.
Junior pitcher Baylor Baumann took to the field on Friday as the Hawks were set to play against Comal Smithson Valley- one of the most stacked with D1 signees teams in the state. Allowing only four hits in the state semifinals, Baumann pitched a complete game to lead Heath to an 8-4 victory over Smithson Valley. On top of impeccable pitching, Heath's offense came out shining taking a quick 5-0 lead. An attempt at a rally for Smithson Valley was cut short as Heath took the victory.
Rockwall-Heath will attempt to win a state title for the first time since 2012. With a 37-11-1 overall record, the Hawks will have an opportunity to nab their program's second state title when they take on Keller.
What To Expect
Although the two teams haven't met this season, coming out of the same area, they share many common opponents. While Rockwall-Heath has posted a 5-3 record over common opponents, Keller has posted a 7-2 record. Both have had big wins over the likes of Rockwall and Mansfield en route to their championship appearance.
Both teams have the pitching depth that it takes to play on this stage with a level of high school baseball that is unmatchable, but the win is going to come down to the bats. With incredible defense coming out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it's going to be a battle of the bats to really decide who wins Texas.
The championship game will be held at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas with a first-pitch time of 4 p.m.