North Hall has a baseball program that is wrapped in tradition.
However, the success for the current crop in 2021 is their first taste of success deep in the postseason.
And, they’re loving every second of it.
“I’m really proud of this group,” Trojans coach Trevor Flow said. “There’s only four teams left in the state playing for the state championship and we’re blessed to be one of the them.”
On Saturday, top-ranked North Hall (29-5) will likely have its toughest test of the season against No. 3 Ringgold (29-6) in the Class 3A state semifinals, kicking off with a 4 p.m. doubleheader in the best-of-three series in Ringgold.
If a third game is necessary, it will be played at 4 p.m. Monday in Ringgold.
The winner will face the winner of the Appling County/Franklin County series for the state championship, starting on May 21.
North Hall most recently won the championship in 2017, while Ringgold is looking to garner its first state title in program history.
The Trojans make an almost-yearly event out of making a deep postseason run. Two years ago, North Hall played in the state semifinals, losing to Pace Academy in two games, before 2020 was wiped out due to the nation’s coronavirus pandemic.
In 2013, North Hall also played for the state championship, a two-game series it lost to Cartersville.
However, this season, Flow feels confident about his program’s chances, even though only a scant few of his players have significant varsity experience in the state playoffs.
For the Trojans, their success starts on the mound.
It’s no secret that Jaret Bales, a hard-throwing right-hander, will get the ball in Game 1 against Ringgold. Last week, he was superb in a complete-game outing with nine strikeouts in a 6-2 win against Pierce County.
Eli Reece was just as good in the nightcap, and his coach expects more of the same from him this weekend.
Against Pierce County, Reece threw all seven innings and didn’t allow a hit until a lead-off single in the third inning en route to a 7-1 victory.
So far, North Hall has handled itself extremely well against deep playoff teams this season. Flow said North Hall is 6-2 this year against teams that have played in the state quarterfinals.
That should be a good sign since Ringgold, which has five state runner-up finishes in school history, is also one of the best in the state.
The Tigers have swept through the postseason with six straight wins, starting with a doubleheader sweep of West Hall in the first round of state on April 29.
However, Flow feels good about his squads chances.
They know playing deep in the postseason is something to cherish and take seriously.
“It’s a privilege that doesn’t happen very often,” North Hall’s coach said. “We don’t know when or if it will happen again, so we just have to keep doing what we’ve done all season.”
For Ringgold, Kenyon Ransom (2-0 in the playoffs, 15 1/3 innings pitched and 16 strikeouts) and Chase Ghormley (3-0 in the playoffs, 20 IP, 22 K’s) will be its starters.
If Game 3 is played, senior Colin Mountjoy or juniors Robbie Bates and Mason Parker are the most likely candidates to take the bump to start.