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High school baseball: North Hall squanders early lead, solid pitching effort in loss to East Forsyth
North Hall's Mills Lothridge (3) throws against East Forsyth on March 15, 2023 in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

North Hall’s baseball program is so accustomed to success that its current struggles have coach Trevor Flow not feeling great about where they stand in 2023. 

On Wednesday, the Trojans hit the ball well early and had a solid pitching effort from sophomore Mills Lothridge, but weren’t able to muster a rally after falling behind to East Forsyth in the fifth inning and lost 4-2. 

“We’re not really playing good baseball,” Flow said. “We’re very selfish in what we’re doing. We’ve done things very successfully (in the past) and a certain way and we’re having trouble getting that through (to them). At some point, you hope it gets through what you’re trying to teach them. It’s very frustrating right now.”

The loss comes at a point when North Hall had won 2 of its last 3, the only loss in eight innings to talented first-year Seckinger. 

However, the Trojans sixth-year coach primarily sees a group that is playing disjointed.

“You have to do things a certain way if you want to play deep into May and we’re not doing those things right now,” Flow said. “If we were progressing and showing signs of improvement, that would be one thing, but we’re not and that’s the frustrating part.”

Even though North Hall (10-5 overall) stands at 1-1 in Region 8-4A subregion play, with 10 league games left in the regular season, it still has plenty of time to get into position to earn a playoff berth. 

However, it will have to come with a greater sense of urgency when the Trojans need to manufacture runs, along with more energy, like its Class 3A state-championship program in 2021 and state semifinalists last season. 

After winning the first matchup against East Forsyth this week, the game Wednesday started well for the Trojans. 

North Hall junior center fielder Ajay Jones slapped a lead-off double in the first inning, went to third base on a steal and came in to score on Jon Jon Read’s ground ball out for an RBI. 

Then in the third inning, North Hall’s Andrew Hlavacek drove a two-out double and scored on Read’s run-scoring single. 

However, a two-run cushion wouldn’t be enough against the Broncos (8-6, 1-1 in subregion play). 

Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, East Forsyth’s Joseph Gurr drove a fly ball toward left field that looked to be tailing toward foul ground, but landed just inside the line and resulted in a stand-up double. 

After that, No. 9 hitter Blake Riley was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners, after Gurr stole third base. 

Once East Forsyth got back to the top of the order, lead-off hitter Owen McGee ripped a hard-hit line drive off the top of the glove of the Trojans’ first baseman. 

The Broncos pushed their final run across the plate with an RBI single from center fielder Will Moffitt. 

East Forsyth starter Trey Farr, a sophomore left-hander, settled down after a bumpy start to allow only two more hits. 

Meanwhile, Mills Lothridge finished throwing six innings and allowed four runs and scattered five hits. 

North Hall’s starter went through the Broncos order the first time without allowing a hit. 

Lothridge only gave up a pair of hits through the first four innings. 

However, East Forsyth’s offense started to warm up with a single by McGee in the third inning, then the three runs in the fifth inning. 

With the loss, the series wraps with a game Friday in Forsyth County. 

After this week, North Hall still has week-long, subregion series remaining against Chestatee, Cherokee Bluff and East Hall. 

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