LONGVIEW -- Pat Day let out a roar after rallying from two men on base and no outs in the bottom of the seventh for a hard fought 2-1 victory Thursday at Spring Hill.

Why not? With Nathan Methvin pitching a 10-strikeout, one-walk, six-hit game on the other side for the Panthers, Day really had to earn the District 16-3A win.

"We definitely came through and won the game," Day said. "It was a very well-played game against a very good Spring Hill team. They went four rounds toward state last year for a reason. It felt really good to come out here and get a solid win. It was definitely fun."

Spring Hill trailed 2-0 despite Methvin's mound performance heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. But things began to look up when Methvin and Cameron Copeland hit back-to-back singles.

Eli Reagh's groundout advanced the base runners to second and third and then Colton Hopkins base hit through the middle gap cut Chapel Hill's lead to one with just one out. Hopkins advanced to second on the play when Day decided to play it safe and hold Copeland at third with Hopkins caught in a pickle on the way to second base.

Day bounced back with a strikeout and then a long fly ball to center field to close out the game.

Bulldogs young and energetic skipper Ryan Cook had to come in for the real deal. He hugged his University of Houston-bound pitcher and then gave Day some high praise.

His ace had just turned in an eight-strikeout performance with seven hits scattered over seven innings plus a pickoff to first base that killed a promising fifth inning for Spring Hill. No walks.

"Like I told Pat when I first got here, 'You're the most influential person on this team whether it be positive or negative,'" Cook said. "'If you're an emotional player, they're going to feed off of you.' Pat took it the past two years and these guys have fed off of Pat Day. That they should. He throws 90+ (miles per hour) from the left side, and that's where we get that from."

Chapel Hill moved to 14-5 and 2-1 in 16-3A. It's a huge early improvement from last year's 17-12 record.

Spring Hill is quite alive with a 2-1 district record and a 7-7-2 season overall.

The only disappointment was Methvin got the loss.

Spring Hill's Nathan Methvin pitched a complete game in the 2-1 loss. He recorded 10 strikeouts along the way. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

"I hate to say this, because I hate to say this about any kid, but he's going to be hard to replace," Spring Hill head coach Joel Windham said. "People don't understand what he brings to us. Not only just the pitching performance he gave us today, but the two hits he got today were key to starting us and leading us. Great kid. He tries to lead by example. Great in the classroom. He tries to lead people well. He's just a  great kid all the way around."

The day just belonged to Day after the seventh-inning rally.

"I was definitely tired," the winning pitcher said. "I was worried because the first two guys got on base. I wasn't too sure what was going on. I definitely got kind of nervous. They started hitting off of me and my arm was definitely tired. I didn't know what was going to go on, but I just threw strikes and my team had my back."

Chapel Hill won the game with two runs in the top of the third.

Peyton Richardson got a leadoff base hit. Andrew Black, who had a game-best 3-for-3 day, advanced Richardson with a single on the next at-bat. A deep fly to right field from Braden Nelson advanced both Richardson and Black into scoring position.

Zack Walters delivered the game-winning hit with a shot to center field for the 2 RBIs before Spring Hill recovered with a tag at home plate the next at-bat on a double from Day.

"These kids, they fight," Cook said. "Last year we started four freshmen who made some mistakes. I told them at the end of the year that they would not make those mistakes again because they're better and they'll be even better next year. It showed today. They're tough kids.

"I also believe success breeds success. We've had success on the football field and success in the basketball gym. Not saying all my kids play those sports, but they've seen that success. They wear the C.H. across their chest and feel like they can compete."

 

Chapel Hill 2, Spring Hill 1

Chapel Hill                 002   000   0   —   2   6   0
Spring Hill                  000   000   1   —   1   7   1

Pitchers and Catchers
  • Chapel Hill: Patrick Day and Hudson Mahaffey.
  • Spring Hill: Nathan Methvin and Cameron Copeland.

WP — Day.
LP — Methvin.

Doubles
  • Chapel Hill: Day.