In the first battle of the Hills in 16-3A, it was an all-out war on the hill.
In the end, it was Chapel Hill’s day.
Spring Hill’s Nathan Methvin and Chapel Hill’s Patrick Day combined for 18 strikeouts and the Bulldogs used two third-inning runs to hold on for a 2-1 win over the Panthers in District 16-3A action at Panther Field.
Both teams managed seven hits each in the heated contest but Chapel Hill capitalized in the third inning for the difference.
“Our kids were poised today,” Spring Hill head coach Joel Windham said. “They played like it was a playoff game and Chapel Hill looked like a playoff team. It was defense and timely hits today. They just had a few more than we did and they were back-to-back there to get runs there early that we never recovered from.”
Day – a University of Houston commit – fanned eight to pick up the win, his third of the season.
“He’s a very good pitcher, we got to him a couple times last year but today he was very poised and brought his stuff,” Windham said. “I think we learned a lot today, especially about not trying to force things. Sometimes when we see a quality opponent or pitcher like that, we try to amp up a little bit. Today, I think we got a little too excited and started swinging from our heels trying to catch up to the fastball.”
For Spring Hill, Methvin finished with 10 strikeouts, complimented with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Methvin finished with 88 pitches in the seven-inning outing, getting ahead of 19 batters with first-pitch strikes in 27 Bulldogs faced.
“Nathan looked great off the hill for us again today,” Windham said. “I feel sorry for him because it’s been that way for him this year where he’s pitched his tail off and we’re just not getting the run support when he’s on the mound. It’s one of those things that most of the time when he’s up there, we’re facing a good team and another good picture across from him.”
Andrew Black posted the only other multi-hit afternoon in the contest, finishing 3-for-3 at the top of the Bulldogs’ lineup.
Both pitchers struck out the side in the second inning before back-to-back singles put two on for Chapel Hill with one away in the top of the third. Zach Walters cleared the bases with a single up the middle to give the Bulldogs the 2-0 lead. Day followed with a double but the Panthers’ ended the threat with a 9-4-2 putout.
Methvin settled quickly, facing two above the minimum the rest of the way on 41 pitches with an infield error and single representing Chapel Hill’s lone base runners in the final four frames.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the home frame of the seventh, Methvin roped his second one-bagger of the day and Cameron Copeland followed to put runners on first and second with no outs. A hard-hit groundout from Eli Reagh moved the runners into scoring position, and Colton Hopkins followed with an RBI single.
Day ended it with a strikeout in seven-pitch at-bat and forcing a flyout with a curveball to shallow centerfield to secure the 2-1 win.
Spring Hill (7-6-1, 2-1) is back at it today at 2 p.m. in Brownsboro in non-district action before resuming 16-3A play on the road Tuesday in Henderson. Chapel Hill (14-5, 2-1) hosts Bullard on Tuesday.