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North Hall baseball stands behind the next man up mentality as they eye Appling County in the Class 3A quarterfinals
Appling County's starting rotation will be the Trojans' biggest threat
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North Hall's Caleb Wiley catches a ground ball during a second-round doubleheader against Westminster at North Hall High School on Thursday, May 2, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

Nine straight playoff appearances has led North Hall baseball to this point: a meeting with Appling County in the Class 3A quarterfinals. 

The best-of-three series starts today at 5 p.m.

“We’re really excited,” North Hall coach Trevor Flow said. “I don’t think that too many people expected us to be at this point especially with the adversity that we’ve faced. With the kids that haven’t played or have been hurt at some point, the younger kids have stepped up and played meaningful innings.”

Two years removed from the 3A state title and falling just short of the quarterfinals last season with a series loss to Lovett, the Trojans are motivated for another state title run.

The upcoming series features two starters who didn’t enter the season as North Hall’s frontliners. Once ace Caleb Clark’s arm gave out during the regular season, Jackson Dyer and Kelton Kieschnick had to step up and try to match Clark’s productivity. 

Dyer impressively pitched into the 10th inning in Game 1 of last week’s Westminster series, allowing four runs (two earned). The Trojans dropped that game and salvaged the series in the nightcap. 

Kieschnick responded with a complete game in Game 3, conceding just one run.

After both strong outings, Flow confirmed that Dyer and Kieschnick will start Game 1 and Game 2.

As for Appling County, Flow expects a rotation that controls the strike zone with tricky offspeed pitches.

“Everybody that I’ve talked to and gotten scouting reports from talk about their strength being on the mound, so I expect they’ll throw the ball really well,” Flow said.

Semblances of the Trojans' 2017 state championship team have percolated through this year’s squad. As for the few remaining members of the 2017 team, Flow believes their time is now.

“I think they’re really focused; that’s what’s impressed me the most,” Flow said. “A lot of them have traveled before and gone through the state championship but they weren’t in a playing role. We’ve talked about it being their time and this is them playing that role that they saw other people playing before.”

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