On Sunday, Wakeland alumnus Ryan O'Hearn hit two home runs for the Kansas City Royals, including what turned out to be the game-winner in the 10th inning.
It's the continuation of a dream for O'Hearn, who is the first Frisco ISD graduate to play at the highest level of professional baseball.
Here's O'Hearn's story, including his memories of Wakeland, from the August edition of Frisco ISD FOCUS magazine:
-- MAJOR LEAGUE DREAM --
Wakeland High School graduate Ryan O’Hearn
shines on the diamond for Kansas City Royals
By MATT WIXON
For many children, the answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” changes from year to year – and maybe even day to day. But for Ryan O’Hearn, the answer was always the same.
Professional baseball player.
“That was always the dream,” said O’Hearn, a 2011 graduate of Wakeland High School who now plays for the Kansas City Royals.
The dream came true in a spectacular way on July 31, 2018, when O’Hearn made his Major League Baseball debut. With his parents and other family members in attendance at the home stadium of the Chicago White Sox, O’Hearn smashed a home run into the right-field stands.
It was the kind of moment O’Hearn had dreamed of since he was a 5-year-old taking his first swings.
“For it to come true like that was pretty special,” O’Hearn said. “That’s definitely a day and a moment on the baseball field that I’ll never forget.”
O’Hearn’s family, including his mom, Chris, the former counselor at Frisco ISD’s Robertson Elementary, celebrated in the stands. In Frisco, O’Hearn’s friends and childhood mentors were also celebrating FISD’s first graduate to make it to the highest level of professional baseball.
Among those celebrating was Wakeland math teacher Wendie Scalf, who was O’Hearn’s calculus teacher.
“Ryan is one of those students who a teacher never forgets,” Scalf said. “Not only for his hard work in the classroom but also because he knew what he wanted to do and has worked extremely hard to get there. I am so happy for him that his dream of playing in the majors has come true.”
In O’Hearn’s final two years at Wakeland, he led the Wolverines to back-to-back district titles and deep playoff runs. The 2010 trip to the state tournament was one of the highlights of his time in high school.
“I remember that vividly,” O’Hearn said. “Taking that trip down to Round Rock with those guys, that was pretty special. A lot of those guys I still call my best friends today.”
O’Hearn has also stayed in touch with some of his coaches and teachers, including Scalf, who met with him after the Royals played the Rangers at Globe Life Ballpark this season. “She’s an unbelievable lady,” the first baseman said of his former teacher. “She was just always so supportive.”
O’Hearn was a standout player at Sam Houston State and was drafted by the Royals in the eighth round of the 2014 Major League draft. He spent four years working through the Royals’ minor-league system before getting his chance in the majors.
“At this level, you’re expected to perform every day and you’re under a microscope in everything you do,” O’Hearn said. “But I love it. This is the job that I wanted to have, and I remind myself all the time how lucky and blessed I am to put on a major league uniform every night and go out there and play.”