Sophomore ace Caleb Clark pitched a one-hit shutout with nine strikeouts, while starters Taber Mongero and Wesley Smith were perfect from the plate to lead North Hall to a 10-0 win and second-straight shutout of Lumpkin County Wednesday at Jody Davis Field in Gainesville.
The Trojans (8-3, 2-0 Region 7-AAA) coasted to their second region win in only five innings despite showing some early-season kinks.
“We got some timely hits, scored 10 in five, but we still have a lot of improving to do,” North Hall baseball coach Trent Mongero said.
Of a combined nine hits, Wesley Smith (3 for 3) led the order followed by senior shortstop Taber Mongero (2 for 2, RBI, three runs scored), who extended his hit streak to six games with a first-inning leadoff triple and fourth-inning single. Dylan Lavender was another to put together a multi-hit showing, going 2 for 4 with a run scored and a two-RBI single during a five-run spurt in the bottom of the fifth.
The Trojans otherwise left eight runners stranded, ending the second and fourth innings with the bases loaded.
It was just another indicator for the North Hall coach that this senior-laden bunch is working towards the finished product this early in the season.
“Some guys are hotter right now. We’re really not clicking on all cylinders,” Mongero said. Offensively we’re capable of more individual consistency, so the guys are working towards that, and that’s a credit to Lumpkin County and what their pitchers were able to do. But we certainly have to get better at that if we want to achieve future goals.”
Clark meanwhile assembled the Trojans’ second pitching gem of the week against the Indians (3-7, 0-2). He worked the zone to pitch ahead in the count early and often, fanning the first two batters he faced during a 1,2,3, Top of the first, and went on to strike out the side during the second and fourth innings.
Clark’s brief slipups were backed by the teammates behind him. In the top of the third, Second baseman scooped up a slow chopper and turned a 4-6-3 double play, just one batter after Jace Seabolt tallied the Indians’ lone hit of the day on a single to right.
The sophomore got out of one final small stint in the top of the fifth after watching Lumpkin County’s Jacob Martin draw a five-pitch walk and get batted around to third base on consecutive fielder’s choice plays. That’s when Senior teammate and right fielder Drew Hubbard backpedaled to catch a flyball at the warning track for the third out.
“Caleb did an outstanding job on the mound, and he made it pretty easy on us defensively. We didn’t have to make a lot of plays. I felt Hubbard made a great play for us out in left field,” the coach added.
North Hall baseball coach Trent Mongero will look for a little more consistency and aggression from the plate when the Trojans finish up the three-game series with Lumpkin County 5:55 p.m. Friday in Dahlonega.