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7-run third inning propels North Hall past Johnson
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After missing the playoffs for the second straight year last season, North Hall High’s baseball team is doing everything in its power to end the postseason drought.

Thanks to a seven-run third inning and a three-hit, four-RBI night from Jacob Brewster, the Trojans kept their postseason hopes alive with a 12-6 win against Johnson on Wednesday at Jody Davis Field.

“We’re not mathematically eliminated,” North Hall coach Trent Mongero said. “Every game is big and we have to take them one at a time.”

The magnitude of Wednesday’s game was evident in the third inning when the two teams combined to score 11 runs on nine hits.

The Knights (10-10, 7-7 Region 7B-AAA), who were trailing 3-0 at the time, started the scoring barrage in the top half of the third when Ryan Farmer hit an RBI double that scored courtesy runner Dalton Echols. They tied the game two batters later when Logan Pethel knocked in Farmer and Chris White with a single to left. Then took the lead on an A.J. Benefield sacrifice fly that scored Trey Wilson.

North Hall (12-10, 8-7 Region 7A-AAA) answered with a big inning of its own that started with an RBI single from Holden Kellar that scored Lee Sisson. Kellar, who had his streak of six consecutive hits snapped to end the third, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

After hitting a two-run home run in the second inning, Brewster added to his great night at the plate with a two-run single, scoring later in the inning on a sacrifice fly from Hamilton Harper.

Back-to-back hits from Jeff Abernathy and Whit Bowen plated two more Trojans, and Chris Stephens capped the seven-run inning with an RBI single that scored Bowen.

“That was big for us to respond to that four-spot,” Mongero said. “We’ve responded well all season.”

And with a chance at reaching the postseason still in sight, that response was much needed.

“That just showed our pride,” said Brewster, who finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. “We’re still fighting and we don’t give up at all.”

Abernathy, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, contributed on both of North Hall’s final two runs by driving in Brewster in the fourth and hitting an RBI groundout that scored Kyle Johnson in the sixth.

The Knights, who visit Flowery Branch at 5:55 p.m. Friday, threatened to make a game of it in the seventh by scoring two runs with two outs, but pitcher Matt Fowler came in to record the final out of the game and give North Hall the win.

North Hall plays host to Pickens (2-18, 1-13) at 7 p.m. Friday, and Mongero knows that his team must remain focused despite the fact they are playing a team with a losing record.

“We’re not good enough to overlook anyone,” he said. “We’ve learned our lesson on that in the past, and I expect everyone to be ready to play.”

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