White Oak Knocks Out Spring Hill With Huge Sixth Inning
LONGVIEW -- White Oak probably figured it could do a little damage after loading the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth against chief rival Spring Hill.
Baseball is a game filled with compromise. Very few situations are as good or as bad as they initially seem.
Tuesday provided an exception.
Freshman right fielder Elijah Trest bit on the first pitch of his plate appearance and delivered a grand slam to take the Panthers out of the game en route to an 8-1 Roughnecks' victory.
"The big thing was just getting our leadoff on," winning head coach Skylar Stagner said. "We had struggled the couple of innings before of getting that leadoff runner on and then trying to make something happen from there."
The grind was something White Oak -- 4-0 with six games cancelled due to rain -- expected.
On paper, the storied Class 3A program was an underdog to TXhighschoolbaseball.com's No. 21 Class 4A team.
Things started off with a bang though.
Leadoff hitter and shortstop Erik Owen homered to left field on the game's fifth pitch. Then, in the second inning, first baseman Taylor Meaux escaped a pickle from third base for a score.
But Spring Hill (7-2) dug in. It got a run back in the bottom of the second when third baseman Braeden Sims batted in starting pitcher Eli Reagh on a double just a bit too far in front of Trest.
The following three innings were tight.
With junior Hayden Lott on the mound, the Roughnecks stranded a Panthers runner on third base to close the third and then got perfect fourth and fifth innings. White Oak could not push a runner past first base during the same stretch.
It was clear the game was going to come down to pitching, and both starters were at about 70 throws.
White Oak pinch hitter Justiss Pilgrim drew a leadoff walk in his first appearance in the top of the sixth, third baseman Chris Henderson took a hardball to the shin and Meaux laid down a sacrifice bunt Spring Hill chose to play at second base to no avail.
The freshman took Reagh's 86th pitch beyond the right-center field wall for a 6-1 lead.
"I was pretty nervous," Trest said. "I just wanted to go up there and do anything to help my team. I was looking for a sacrifice fly, just anything, to help us out. I wasn't looking to hit a bomb. But it just happened. It really opened my eyes that I can compete with these guys."
Nine-hole hitter and center fielder Colby Siegley followed the slam up with a base hit. Owen then drew a walk to cap a nearly perfect day at the plate, a 1-for-2 outing with two walks.
Charles Denton knocked Siegley and Owen in with a double to close scoring.
Lott earned a complete game win. He allowed five hits and three walks on 102 pitches and tossed two strikeouts.
"We have not played them in three years," the winning pitcher said. "We're big rivals and it was exciting to get to play. It feels great to get the win."
Reagh was saddled with the loss, but he recorded six strikeouts on the way.
Both clubs will enter district play Friday.
White Oak hosts New Diana in its District 17-3A opener. Spring Hill travels to Bullard to kick off the District 16-4A schedule.
"It is a nice win," Stagner said. "I want to make sure the kids understand it's just one game though. That's kind of what I told them all week so they wouldn't get too hyped up about it. It's just a game like any other we're going to play. They did a good job today and hopefully that prepares us for district."
White Oak 8, Spring Hill 1
At Spring Hill High School
White Oak 110 006 0 -- 8 6 0
Spring Hill 010 000 0 -- 1 5 0
Pitchers and catchers
- White Oak: Hayden Lott and Charles Denton.
- Spring Hill: Eli Reagh, Braeden Sims (6), Luke Shepperd (7) and Jacob Moore.
WP -- Lott.
LP -- Reagh.
- White Oak: Charles Denton, Josh White.
- Spring Hill: Reagh, Sims, Colton Hopkins.
- White Oak: Erik Owen, Elijah Trest.