Lincoln Hewett and Corbin Lewallen have been in the thick of the action for North Hall’s two most accomplished baseball teams in school history.
Sophomores on the 2013 Trojans squad that played for the Class AAA state championship, Hewett and Lewallen are senior leaders this year for the second quarterfinal qualifier in school history.
Hewett went 8 for 9 over a two-game sweep of Upson-Lee in the second round Wednesday at Jody Davis Field. North Hall’s left fielder was 4 for 4 in Game 1 as North Hall won 9-0, then added three hits in the 9-2 nightcap win to complete the sweep.
With the win, North Hall (21-8) awaits the No. 5 Whitewater/Pike County series winner. The two split the first two games Wednesday, forcing a Game 3 today in Fayetteville. Should third-seed Pike County win, the quarterfinal series would be played at Jody Davis Field at North Hall.
“I’m just extremely proud of this group, only the second team in school history to ever make it past the second round,” North Hall coach Trent Mongero said. “I almost can’t put it into words how proud I am.”
The left-handed Lewallen threw a masterful six innings in Game 1, allowing only four hits and a walk. Lewallen kept Upson-Lee off the board following its upset of Region 1-AAAA champion Crisp County in the opening-round series.
North Hall’s senior ace finished his stint on the mound with four strikeouts for his 10th victory, and kept the Knights from putting a runner into scoring position, before Taber Mongero came in to close out the win in the seventh.
“Corbin’s a stud,” said Hewett. “We know every time he goes out there and pitches, he’s going to give us his best.”
North Hall made quick work of the doubleheader, spraying 25 hits over the field, including 23 singles.
GAME 2: The Trojans put a four-spot on the board in the first inning, with the help of three walks. Hewett stroked RBI singles in the sixth and seventh inning. Matthew Cox chipped in a two-run double in the seventh for North Hall to put the game out of reach.
Just as important as the good hitting in the second game was the relief work of Aaron Miles, who came in to pitch the third and fourth innings, after a sluggish start by on the mound by Hewett. Leading 4-1, Miles entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs. A ground ball to Brock Wingo gave North Hall two outs on a double play, and Upson-Lee’s only run of the inning.
“That was kind of a role reversal right there,” said Mongero. “Last week, Lincoln came in for relief of Aaron, then tonight Miles came in out of relief for Hewett.”
Drew Atha came in to pitch the final three innings for North Hall.
After giving up back-to-back singles and a walk that loaded the bases for Knights, Atha was able to get out of the fifth inning without any damage.
With one out, Matthew Cox ran under a fly ball hit by Tanner Crews to right field for the second out, then threw it quickly to first for the force and final out of the inning.
North Hall’s big first inning at the plate began with Hewett’s one-out single. Micah Strickland came in to score for the Trojans on a passed ball, then catcher Fowler Brooks grounded out to bring home another run.
Drew Coker and Josh Hammond both drew walks to load the bases. For the series, North Hall batters walked six times to load the bases.
GAME 1: Hewett singled three times in the series opener, then came up with a fifth-inning hit that went in the area around the tarp down the third-base line, resulting in a ground-rule double that scored two runs. Earlier in the seven-run inning, Hewett laced a hit off the right-field wall, stole second and scored on a walk by Coker.
Hewett’s first two singles came on the back of another hit: he followed Micah Strickland’s single in the first, then one by shortstop Taber Mongero in the third inning.
Hewett said his big day was made possible with a steady diet of pitches on the inside portion of the strike zone.
“When Lincoln’s hot, he tends to go on streaks,” said North Hall’s coach.
Brock Wingo finished the series opener 3 for 4. Strickland and Brooks both added a pair of singles.
Wingo drove in the first run with an RBI single in the second. A second run scored on a fielding error by Upson-Lee’s outfielder.
Lewallen was steady during Game 1 on the mound. The fifth inning was the only time he allowed more than one hit: singles by Kalen Puckett and Zack Gooden.
The first jam Lewallen faced was with two on and only one out in the first inning, before getting a strikeout for the final two outs.
“Corbin did a great job of hitting his spots, mixing his speeds and letting the defense make plays behind him,” the Trojans’ coach added.