Southlake Carroll did everything it could have hoped for in the first inning Thursday night against Flower Mound ace Kyle Johnston.
The Dragons (30-5) had four hits and drew a walk, jumping to a 4-0 lead before the Jaguars came to bat.
But Johnston is an ace for a reason. And Carroll couldn’t carry its early momentum past the first half-inning.
The Dragons struck out 14 times and dropped a 6-4 decision to Flower Mound (29-10) in Game 1 of the Class 5A Region I semifinals at Flower Mound High School.
The two teams will meet for Game 2 at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Carroll.
Four of the Dragons’ first five batters scored.
Eric Cole led off the game with a two-strike single, which was followed by Kevin Cramer’s two-out walk. After Drew Brown reached on a fielder’s choice, Nick Motley singled to score Cole.
Then Barry Casey doubled to the base of the center-field wall to drive in two runs for a 3-0 lead by Carroll. Pitcher Garrett Hale then singled to left field to bring Casey home for a 4-0 lead.
But those would be the highlights of Carroll’s night against Johnston, a Texas signee who entered Thursday with a 0.32 ERA. Johnston (8-2) would earn the complete-game victory, striking out 14 and giving up seven hits.
Brown, a Nebraska signee who led the Dragons with two hits, would be the lone Carroll starter not to strike out against Johnston.
Johnston’s winning performance was set up by Flower Mound’s first-inning surge that tied the game at 4-4.
Connor Wanhanen singled off of Hale, who then hit two of the next three batters and gave up a single to Mitch Andrews allowing the Jaguars’ first four batters to score. Hale (1-2) threw 2 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on six hits.