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High school baseball: North Hall tops Johnson, in contention for No. 2 spot to playoffs
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North Hall's John Mark Montgomery slides in at home during Wednesday's game against Johnson in Oakwood. - photo by Erin O. Smith

North Hall’s path to earn its seventh consecutive postseason berth is entirely in its own hands. Should the Trojans (14-7, 9-3 Region 8-AAAA) win their last four games in region play, they will open the Class AAAA state tournament at Jody Davis Field later this month.

On Wednesday, North Hall knocked off Johnson 21-3 in Oakwood. The final four games in region play opens with the first of a two-game set against Chestatee on Friday.

The last week of the regular season is a pair of games against North Oconee (11-7, 8-2), which currently holds the No. 2 spot in the 8-AAAA standings.

Third-ranked Buford (16-3, 9-1), No. 5 Madison County (18-3, 9-3), North Oconee and North Hall are almost a lock to be the four playoff teams from the region since there’s a big gap between the top four programs and bottom five in 8-AAAA.

The Trojans, however, are still battling for a more favorable spot to state.

“This region is very tight right now with a lot of teams playing well,” said North Hall coach Trent Mongero.

North Hall has a two-game sweep last month of Madison County working in its favor. Buford beat Madison County 10-2 on Wednesday, meaning a season split between the two schools.

Should North Hall and Madison County finish tied for second at the end of the regular season, the Trojans would own the tiebreaker.

Given the neck-and-neck battle at the top, North Hall knows it can not afford a slip up.

“We just have to continue to play to our ability,” said North Hall shortstop Taber Mongero, who had four hits and three RBIs against the Knights. “We have a lot of respect for Chestatee and North Oconee, and know they’re good teams.”

Senior Nathan Kinney picked up his first varsity victory for the Trojans, throwing three innings of two-hit ball in the four-inning game against the Knights.

At the plate, Mongero continued to thrive in the lead-off spot with a first-inning double, along with three singles later in the game.

Mongero scored three runs.

Austin Adams added a hit in each of the first two innings for the Trojans. Drew Atha reached base in each of the first three innings for North Hall, including a two-run single in the third inning.

Sandwiched in-between the final two region series for the Trojans, they’ll face Cartersville High on April 15 for a 4 p.m. game at Turner Field in Atlanta. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for North Hall’s program to play on the same field the Atlanta Braves call home before moving to Cobb County in 2017.

“Playing at Turner Field is going to be an experience of a lifetime,” said Taber Mongero.

North Hall’s game against Cartersville is also a rematch of the 2013 state championship series in Class AAA.

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