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North Hall knocks off West Hall to stay perfect in region
Trojans blow game open with five-run fifth inning
0315 NorthWest2
North Hall’s Andrew Smith races toward home plate as West Hall catcher Lincoln Stubbs waits on the ball during the Trojans’ Region 7-AAA game against the Spartans on Friday at Jody Davis Field. - photo by Jared Putnam

North Hall pitcher Brandon DeLong said he didn’t know he’d be making the first start of his varsity career until about 30 minutes before opening pitch on Friday.

From the look of things, the senior right-hander handles surprises just fine.

DeLong held West Hall to two runs over 4 1/3 innings, and the Trojans’ bats broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning en route to a 10-2 victory over the Spartans at Jody Davis Field.

“I was nervous, but as it went on I got a lot (more comfortable),” DeLong said.

“I knew my team could swing (the bats), so when I went out there I just wanted to give us a chance to get up on them. As the game went on, they really came through for me.”

North Hall (5-3, 3-0 Region 7-AAA) has won four games in a row and remains perfect in region play after losing three of its first four contests.

The victory also allowed the Trojans to create the first bit of separation at the top of the region. North Hall, West Hall (6-2, 2-1), Buford (5-0, 2-0) and White County (8-0, 3-0) all entered the day unbeaten in 7-AAA play.

“We know we have to play complete ball games to win,” North Hall coach Trent Mongero said of the level of competition in the region.

“West Hall is an exceptional team. They’re much improved; I saw they were quality last year. They’re a very well-coached team and we knew we had to play a complete game.”

The Spartans entered the fifth trailing 5-1, but a walk by Zach Collins and a single by Jacob Taylor led to a run-scoring fielder’s choice bunt off the bat of Lincoln Stubbs, cutting the gap to 5-2. Zach English then drew a walk, bringing an end to DeLong’s night on the mound.

“Our number one (starting pitching Corbin Lewallen) has been out for a month,” Mongero said. “Playing three games a week in region we had to go into the depth of our staff, and Brandon really stepped up and pitched a nice ball game. (He) threw a lot of strikes and trusted his defense.”

Josh Hammond came on in relief and retired Cameron Johnson on a bunt attempt that resulted in a fielder’s choice, then struck out Bryan Newman to end the threat.

North Hall responded with four consecutive run-scoring hits in the bottom of the inning, after Drew Coker was hit by a pitch and Fowler Brooks walked.

Freshman Taber Mongero started the scoring with a two run-double into the left field corner, and Andrew Smith, McCoy Savage and Micah Strickland followed with hits that scored one run apiece.

Strickland ended the night 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs. He knocked in the Trojans’ first run of the game in the first inning, after Smith drew a leadoff walk and stole second.

The Trojans took a 2-0 lead into the second inning and tacked on three more with the help of a pair of Spartans’ defensive mistakes off hard-hit grounders by Savage and Lincoln Hewett.

“They were tougher tonight and they took it from us,” West Hall coach Dennis Rennspies said.

“The question is, when you go home, can you self assess, figure out what you did wrong and make sure you don’t repeat it? If you do that you’re going to learn from every loss, if you don’t, then you’re going to end up repeating your mistakes.”

The Trojans and Spartans will meet again at 5:55 p.m. on Monday in Oakwood.

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