Hilton Head Island High baseball coach Chris Wells said last week that Andrew Dill was the future ace of the Seahawks' pitching staff.
He just didn't say it would be four days later.
Sophomore Dill looked the part of a future No. 1 starter Tuesday night, keeping the Seahawks' season alive with an impressive, complete-game effort as Hilton Head High eliminated North Myrtle Beach from the District VIII playoffs with a 2-1 win.
"He was certainly as clutch as he could be tonight," Wells said.
The right-hander gutted through location issues through the first few frames before settling in from the fourth inning on. Dill allowed a first-inning, solo home run to Bill Seddinger -- the second batter he faced -- but fired six scoreless frames from there. He gave up five hits and a walk but struck out five and retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced.
"He didn't have his curveball, he didn't have his changeup. At times, he didn't have his fastball," Wells said. "But when he needed it most, he hit his spots."
Dill began to locate the outside corner down in the zone in the middle innings and began to pitch there almost exclusively over the final four frames at the suggestion of sophomore catcher Brandon Johnson. He stranded a pair of runners on base with one out in the fourth on a couple of popups and allowed just two singles the rest of the way.
"That's money right there," Dill said. "If you can just live there (down and outside), they won't be able to touch you."
Dill got all the offense he would need from shortstop Kevin Hickey, who took advantage of a pair of errors by his Chiefs counterpart, Billy Ferguson. Leadoff hitter Michael Haven reached on miscues by the shortstop in the first and third innings before coming around to score on Hickey's double to left and again on a single down the third base line two innings later.
That was all Chiefs pitcher T.J. Wilkie would allow, as the right-hander surrendered just three hits while striking out two. He retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced and did not surrender a hit after Haven's one-out single in the third.
"He was moving the ball in and out," Haven said. "He was using his curveball. I was just lucky enough to barrel it up a few times."
None of that made a difference to Dill, though. It was the second time in less than a week that he got the best of North Myrtle Beach, as he picked up the save with two scoreless innings of work in the playoff opener last Thursday.
"Dill pitched his heart out," Hickey said. "That's what he does. That's why we gave him the ball and he came out here and proved himself."
The Seahawks now advance to Wednesday's district championship against St. James at 5 p.m., where they must beat the Sharks twice in order to advance to Lower State.
North Myrtle Beach 100 000 0 -- 1 5 3
Hilton Head High 101 000 X -- 2 3 0
WP: Andrew Dill 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
LP: T.J. Wilkie 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, X BB, X K.
Top Hitters: North Myrtle Beach -- Bill Seddinger 2 for 3, HR, RBI; T.J. Wilkie 1 for 3. Hilton Head High -- Kevin Hickey 2 for 3, 2B, 2 RBI; Charles Lively 1 for 2.