CRESTVIEW — Crestview High School baseball coach Tim Gillis had something extra to be happy about Thursday night.
Not only did Crestview Red beat Fort Walton Beach High School 1-0 in the Justin Richards Scholarship Tournament’s second day, but also his son, Matthew, picked up the complete game win.
The younger Gillis was impressive in keeping Viking batters off balance as he mixed his pitches and stayed in the strike zone most of the night.
Gillis finished the night with eight strikeouts to go along with four walks while allowing four Fort Walton Beach hits.
The Bulldogs scored the game's lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Zach DeGraaf scored from third on a Jared Gaszak sacrifice fly to center field.
DeGraaf led off the sixth with a single up the middle. He then stole second and took third as Alik Whited grounded out to third for the first out of the inning and moved into position to score on Gaszak's long out.
"I thought it was an excellent game," Tim Gillis said. "The guys battled. I thought Matthew did a super job out there.
"He had a couple of pitches working for him tonight. We pitched a little bit backwards (behind in the count) and the guys did a super job behind him. We got a timely hit to lead off that sixth and were able to get him over, and Jared Gaszak got a big RBI."
The Vikings mounted their biggest threat of the night in the fifth inning when they had runners of second and third with nobody out.
Gillis wasn't rattled and proceeded to strike out the next three batters to got out of the inning.
"I was just hoping we could limit the damage so we could come back," the senior Gillis said. "Matthew buckled down and got three straight punch-outs, and that was a big inning. He had been on a pretty good rhythm all night, but that one right there got him feeling a lot better about things.”
The game remained scoreless through five innings as the Bulldogs had just three hits heading into the bottom of the sixth before DeGraaf and Gaszak teamed up for the game's lone run.
Fort Walton Beach threatened in the top of the seventh inning with runners reaching second and third, but Gillis ended things with his eighth and final strikeout of the night to seal the win.
"I tell people all the time I'm a lot more concerned with what kind of young man Matthew is than what kind of player he is," Tim said. "But he made me proud on both ends of that tonight."
The Crestview Red team beat Northview 13-0 on Saturday to finish the tournament with a 3-1 record.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.