He made sure the Hilltoppers came away with a most improbable win in the eighth.
Hill hit a three-run double to lift Science Hill to an 11-6 win over the Indians in Monday night’s Big Seven Conference baseball showdown at J. Fred Johnson Stadium. It came after the ’Toppers had struggled at the plate most of the night and only tied the game when Landon Slemp and Hill scored off wild pitches to force the extra inning.
“When I came across the plate to tie the game, that was a huge adrenaline rush. I felt like I was on top of the world,” Hill said. “Our coaches kept preaching to keep grinding and keep it close. When opportunities knock, you have to take advantage of them and we did that tonight.”
With Tennessee High losing to Daniel Boone on Monday, the ’Toppers (14-8) and Indians (14-9) are now tied for the Big Seven Conference lead at 7-2 each.
It was a painful loss for the Indians, who outhit the ’Toppers 10-2 over the first seven innings. What proved costly were the free bases as Dobyns-Bennett gave up a total of 16 walks, which is believed to be a state record for a single game.
“The only way we were going to lose tonight was give them free passes and we did,” Dobyns-Bennett coach Ryan Wagner said. “We’re upset tonight and we should be. We have to be ready tomorrow for a new game and that’s why you play the game of baseball. They’re a good team, but we’re as good or better.”
It appeared that way much of the game as Indians starter Brogan Beckner left the game after throwing nine strikeouts in five innings and D-B holding a 6-3 lead. Derek Thurston went 3 for 4 including a massive solo home run over left field in the fifth inning. Jake Timbes was 2 for 2 with a RBI and a run scored.
Down 5-1 after three innings, there was a never-give-up attitude for Science Hill, which found its own ways of being productive.
Caleb Marmo, who is committed to Wake Forest, drove in two runs and tied a state record with four walks in a game according to the Tennessee Baseball Report. Matthew Levi went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and he and Hill each drew three walks. Cade McCoy, Slemp and Hill scored two runs apiece.
Coach Ryan Edwards credited the pitching and defense for keeping Science Hill in position to pull off the win. Starter Quinn Boyle went 2 1/3 innings before Dustin Eatmon went the next 2 1/3 innings. Slemp threw the final 3 1/3 to earn the victory. Sebsastian Fugate suffered the loss for Dobyns-Bennett.
“From Boyle to Eatmon to Slemp, the reason we had a chance is we only walked two batters in eight innings,” Edwards said. “We’ve always said if we pitch well and play defense, we’re going to be in the game. They had a three-run inning and it looked like the game was getting out of hand. But, our pitchers stuck with it and we didn’t give up any more runs. We were able to come back and get it done.”
The back-to-back series moves to Johnson City’s TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.