Continued strong pitching has kept North Hall in a position to control its own destiny toward earning the No. 2 spot to the postseason from Region 8-AAAA.
On Monday, junior right-hander Corban Meeler tossed a complete-game shutout for the Trojans (16-7, 11-3 Region 8-AAAA), while the defense made two stellar plays behind him to preserve a 5-0 road win against Chestatee.
With the win, North Hall still needs a sweep against North Oconee (12-8, 9-3) next week to lock up the home series to open the Class AAAA state tournament.
Meeler didn’t allow a hit until War Eagles (8-14, 4-8) lead-off hitter Cameron Wilson singled to open the third, and moved to second with Sean Irick’s walk. Meeler got around the first jam he faced with ground ball outs from the next two Chestatee hitters.
Meeler finished his outing allowing just three hits with three strikeouts.
“I thought Corban got better as the game went along,” said North Hall coach Trent Mongero. “His competitive juices really started going about the fifth inning.
The Trojans, who have already locked up their seventh straight playoff appearance, have allowed just three runs over the last three games, since losing to Buford on April 1. North Hall started its series against Chestatee with Reese Olson’s one-hit, complete-game shutout for a 15-0 win last Friday at Jody Davis Field.
“I think our pitching staff is doing a great job,” said Meeler, who last pitched in a 7-5 loss against Buford on March 30. “And Drew Atha does a great job coming in as a closer and throwing strikes.”
In the sixth inning, North Hall shortstop Taber Mongero brought the inning to an end with a superb play up the middle.
Diving for a grounder, Mongero gloved the ball and flipped it before his body hit the ground to Clark Hill at second base for the final out of the inning.
Earlier in the game, Trojans right fielder Dylan Lavender made a diving catch on a fly ball toward the gap.
“That play probably saved a triple,” said Meeler.
North Hall managed to post runs in small increments throughout the game. The Trojans posted a pair of runs in the fifth inning: Jackson Latty’s lead-off homer and Lavender’s ground out to score another run.
Then in the sixth inning, Austin Adams reached on a three-base infield throwing error and scored on Atha’s grounder.
Catcher Fowler Brooks drove in a run for North Hall with a first-inning single, then Hill singled in a run in the third. After a big offensive output in the first meeting against the War Eagles last week, the Trojans struggled in the second meeting to do the same after leaving seven runners on base over the first three innings.
Chestatee starter Braxton Nicholson was solid over his 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three walks.
North Hall’s next game is an outing against Cartersville on Friday at Turner Field in Atlanta. These two schools met in the state championship round in Class AAA in 2013. It’s also a game that will have no impact on the Trojans’ playoff slotting.
“We’re going down there to have fun,” North Hall’s coach said. “Our goal is to go down there and let it loose.”
On Wednesday, Chestatee visits Madison County (19-4, 10-4) in the first of two games this week. Madison County opened the week with a 6-0 win against North Oconee, moving the Titans into a virtual tie for second with the Trojans.