He made sure the Hilltoppers came away with an 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 7 Conference baseball showdown at J. Fred Johnson Stadium. 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’s loss to Daniel Boone on Monday, the ’Toppers (14-8, 7-2) and Indians (14-9, 7-2) are now tied for the lead.
The Indians lost after outhitting the ’Toppers 10-2 over the first seven innings. What proved costly were the free bases: 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,” D-B 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. Indians starter Brogan Beckner exited after striking out nine over five innings and with the Tribe ahead 6-3. Derek Thurston went 3-for-4, including a massive solo home run to left in the fifth inning. Jake Timbes was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
Down 5-1 after three innings, Science Hill found its own ways of being productive.
Caleb Marmo drove in two runs and drew a state record-tying four walks, 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 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 came on to throw the next 2 1/3 innings. Slemp pitched the final 3 1/3 to earn the victory.
Sebastian Fugate suffered the loss for D-B.
“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 Big 7 series moves to Johnson City’s TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.