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Highland Park takes Game 1 over Frisco Wakeland
May 18, 2012By David McNabb of VYPE MAGAZINE - DFW
GRAND PRAIRIE _ A Game 1 victory in a best-of-3 state playoff baseball series always is a good thing, but it's just a big asterik for Highland Park against Frisco Wakeland.Highland Park junior ace left-hander Matt Wilson shut down hard-hitting Wakeland in a 3-1 victory of Game 1 at QuickTrip Park but because Wakeland has defeated Highland Park in dramatic series the last two years.
“Our kids know who knocked us out and their kids know,” Highland Park coach Fred Oliver. “Our kids have done a good job being focused. We were 1-4 in district and we just asked them to get us to the playoffs. Our kids have battled but we know we have one more game to win against them.”
Highland Park got a double by leadoff hitter Mark Gottsacker to spark a 3-run first inning and Wilson didn’t allow a run until the seventh inning. Highland Park (25-10-1) and Wakeland (25-10) have Game 2 at 7:30 Friday at QuickTrip Park. Wakeland has eliminated Highland Park in the state playoffs in dramatic series the last two years.
Highland Park has won 13-consecutive games since its slow district start. Wilson (6-1) has been a key component. He kept Wakeland off-balance with all five of his strikeouts coming on called third-strike curveballs. Wakeland had two hits in three different innings but didn’t score sophomore catcher Seth Mullis and freshman first baseman Johnny Gonzales wrapped seventh inning singles and got a run scored on a groundout.
Gottsacker gave Highland Park a 1-0 lead after he scored on a groundout in the first. Gottsacker lined the second pitch for a double down the leftfield line. Senior catcher Aaron Falgoust followed with a single and junior rightfielder Ryan Romo and senior first baseman Griffin Gaule hit RBI singles.
Wilson and Wakeland starter Hayden Nixon (6-2) rolled quickly through the next six innings, even surviving a 5-minute delay when the infield sprinklers unexpectedly started.
“Matt (Wilson) got a little behind hitters more than he usually does but he didn’t end up throwing that many pitches,” Oliver said. “Their guy (Nixon) settled in and we didn’t get much after the first. Highland Park has sort of had a hard time getting past the third round in football and baseball. We’ve had good focus since we went to Rockwall Heath and beat that bunch in 11 innings. We haven’t lost since and we’re just looking to win the next game every time we play. In baseball, it’s who gets on a roll at the right time.”