After a valiant effort that stretched across 10 innings the Bridge City Cardinals fell to Longview Spring Hill 8-7 in Game One of the Region III semifinal playoff series at Lufkin Hudson High School Thursday. Game Two is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday same location.

Cardinal pitcher Matt Hicks was the work horse on the mound for Big Red. Hicks went the distance plus three extra innings tossing 141 pitches for 10 strikeouts and silenced the Panthers through four straight innings before Spring Hill’s Ashton Everett crossed home plate bringing Game One to a sudden end in the bottom of the 10th.

The Cardinals didn’t see the Panther’s ace left hander Garrett Methvin until the top of the seventh inning. Spring Hill started pitcher Jake Fudge who was relieved by Zack Zeilinger when the Cardinals snuffed a 3-0 Panther lead with three runs in the top of the third inning.

The Panthers scored two runs on two doubles in the bottom of the first inning.

The Cardinals threatened in the top of the second. With two outs Caleb Kellogg singled and reached second on an error. Kellogg was thrown out trying to reach at home on a hit to left field by Blake Snyder.

Spring Hill tacked on another run in the bottom of the frame when Fudge doubled. Designated runner Everett was driven home to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.

The Cardinals evened the score in the top of the third. Lead off hitter Joseph Robertson singled and reached second on an error. Hicks’ sacrifice ground out advanced Robertson to third. Cardinal outfielder Luke Rhodes was walked. Blake Hubbard drove Robertson home with an RBI double off the left field wall. Designated hitter Dylan Mulhollan was walked loading the bases for Kellogg who singled to deep left field scoring Rhodes and Hubbard for a 3-3 ball game.

Hicks was helped by infielders Robertson and Eric Matthews for three-up and three-down to end the inning. In the bottom of the fourth Hicks sent the first three batters back to the dugout.

Bridge City threatened again in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs Matthews was walked. Snyder singled putting runners on first and second. Matthews was thrown out trying to reach home on a single by Cardinal catcher Grant Encalade.

The Cardinals held the Panthers scoreless in the bottom of the frame.

Bridge City bats went to work on Zeilinger in the top of the sixth with four runs on two hits. Robertson reached first on an infield hit. Hicks laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Robertson to second. Rhodes hammered a pitch to left field putting runners on the corners. Hubbard drew a walk. Kellogg smacked a two run double for a 5-3 Cardinal lead. Matthews drove in Hubbard and Kellogg with a two run single upping the score 7-3.

The Panthers answered back with four runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the playoff round 7-7.

Panther ace Methvin was brought in the top of the seventh to shutdown Cardinal hitting and struck out Robertson, Hicks and Rhodes, the top of the order for the Cardinals. But Hicks was fierce on the mound for Big Red silencing the Panthers with three straight strikeouts.

The Cardinals pushed for the lead in the top of the eighth inning. Hubbard drew a walk and Anthony Cessac reached first on a bunt. Kellogg laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced runners to second and third. With one out designated runner Clay Edwards was thrown out at home. The frame ended with two runners stranded.

Hicks fanned the next three Panthers and the inning ended still tied 7-7.

Bridge City threatened to break the tie in the top of the tenth inning when Hubbard singled but was thrown out trying to steal second. With two outs Kellogg singled to left field. Matthews singled and Kellogg was thrown out at second.

The end came 3 1/2 hours after the playoff bout started when Methvin singled. Panther infielder MIles Peloguin singled to right field. With no outs and runners on first and third, a Brandon Arden bunt and Cardinal error scored Everett running for Methvin for the automatic 8-7 victory in Game One.

In other Region III semifinal playoff action Carthage defeated Taylor 4-3 in a come from behind Game One win. Carthage and Taylor go into Game Two, Friday.

The two winners of the Region III semifinal playoff series advance to the finals next week just one bracket away from the UIL Class 3A State Baseball Championships June 11 and 12 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field in Austin.