Photo: Karl L. Moore Collins Hill pitcher Amanda Chance (14) pitches to Mill Creek's Emily Robertson (18) during Thursday's game at Collins Hill.
SUWANEE -- As a freshman understudy to three-time Daily Post Pitcher of the Year Kayla Floor a year ago, Collins Hill pitcher Mandy Chance had some growing up to do last season.
The now-sophomore right-hander demonstrated just how much she's matured in the No. 4 state-ranked Eagles' 3-0 win over sixth-ranked Mill Creek on Thursday at home.
Chance (7-2) tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout with three strikeouts, and got just enough run support to outduel Hawks' starter Heather Felt and help Collins Hill (13-4, 2-1) move into a second-place tie with the Hawks (12-6-1, 2-1), Duluth and North Gwinnett in Region 7-AAAAAA.
"I thought Amanda did a great job," Collins Hill coach Paul Pierce said. "She located the ball (well) and really stayed poised. We were fortunate enough to get her a couple runs late, but I thought she battled and kept herself out of situations where she had to be perfect."
Outside of the top of the fourth inning, during which Mill Creek put more than one runner on base for the only inning all game, Chance nearly was perfect.
With the help of a double play, she faced the minimum until MacKenzie Fagioli's one-out, bunt single in that fourth, and showed plenty of poise -- with more help from her defense -- after walking Lauren Bennett.
Chance induced a pair of grounders, the first of which by Sarah Peery was fielded by a charging Calli Star, who turned and fired to a covering shortstop Aeshia Miles to force Fagioli at third, and the second that Miles snagged and ran to get the force at second to keep the game scoreless.
"I'm not a freshman anymore," Chance said. "I got that freshman nervousness out of me. ... Everything's just a whole lot easier.
"My team supporting me helped me a lot. We knew we had to win this game, so we put our heart and soul into it."
Chance then got help in the bottom of the inning from her offense, which had also been held to the minimum hitters by Felt -- with the help of catcher Shelby Griffin gunning down a base stealer -- through the first three innings.
But a leadoff single by Brea Dickey, an error on Payton Wilson's infield grounder and Star's sacrifice bunt set the table for Simmons, who cleaned it off with a two-run double to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Collins Hill added an insurance run on Miles' sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth, but Chance didn't really need it.
She didn't allow a ball to reach the outfield until Peery's line-out to left and Morgan Bell's single to left in the top of the seventh.
And Chance made sure Mill Creek wouldn't threaten any further by getting Felt and Emily Robinson to ground out, two of 12 groundball outs she recorded on the day.
"I threw a lot of screwballs and a lot of curveballs," Chance said. "But my dropball was definitely working for me (Thursday) night with all the groundballs."
Wilson, Star and Keri Barrientos each added a hit for Collins Hill.
Felt also pitched well in the loss, giving up just five hits and three runs -- only two of which were earned -- with three strikeouts over six innings.
In fact, head coach Roger Parham was far from displeased with the way his Hawks played.
"(Felt) did a really nice job," Parham said. "And I know we only had two hits, but we put (the ball) in play hard several times. ... That's just kind of how it is.
"It was a good ball game. I think both (teams) had just one error (each). We just couldn't get the big hit with runners in scoring position, and they did. ... You just have to tip your hat to them."