CLEVELAND -- No matter how you sliced it, Monday's Region 7-AAA battle between North Hall and White County was a must-win.
The Warriors, behind Georgia-signee Spencer Adams, needed a win to avoid being swept in a home-and-home series and stay within striking distance of Buford for first place in the region.
The Trojans, behind Corbin Lewallen, wanted to continue their momentum after beating White County on Friday and pull within percentage points of the Warriors for second place.
Lewallen and Micah Strickland made sure North Hall is back in the conversation in the chase for one of the top two spots in the region. The pair led the Trojans to a 2-0 victory, setting the stage for what is sure to be an interesting last half of the region schedule.
"We lost a close game to Dawson County and that tough one to Buford so we feel we have a good chance to finish strong," North Hall coach Trent Mongero said. "I'm proud of our team, especially Corbin. Few thought we could come up here and beat Adams but they found a way."
Lewallen tossed a two-hit complete game shuout and the North Hall defense did not allow a runner to get past first base the entire game.
"I felt good out there and we didn't worry that everyone thought Spencer would beat us," Lewallen said. "The guys were behind me and I just tried to do my job and get outs. This is a great team to be around because we have each other's backs."
Strickland provided all the offense with an RBI double in the first and a solo home run in the third.
"Micah is a dangerous hitter when he commits to his swing and right now he is doing what we're asking him to do," Mongero said. "
White County coach John Brown understood the importance of a win Monday. The Warriors open a home-and-home series with No. 1 Buford Wednesday at home. Adams is not expected to pitch in either of the two games.
"(Monday) was the day we really needed a win," Brown said. "It was a must-win. But we're going to see if we can find a way to scratch out a win (over Buford). We did it last year."
The loss was big for the Warriors (11-2, 8-2 Region 7-AAA) who are now fighting both North Hall and West Hall for second place.
"Our goal is to host the first round so now we have to find a way to get a win just to keep pace with the other teams," Brown said. "They have already played Buford."
North Hall (9-6, 7-3) jumped on Adams in the first. Andrew Smith reached on an error to start the game and later scored on Strickland's double for a 1-0 lead. But they stranded two runners in scoring position.
Adams settled down over the next two innings fanning five in a row and retiring eight straight. But Strickland would end the streak with a towering solo home run to left with two out in the third for a 2-0 Trojans lead.
Meanwhile, Lewallen was sharp throughout for North Hall. The senior southpaw surrendered just one hit through the first four innings and worked around one error in the first. He retired 11 straight from the second to the fifth inning.
Adams retired nine of the next 11 after Strickland's home run but the White County offense could not get anything going against Lewallen. A walk to Trey Allen to start the sixth ended the streak but Trent Morgan ground into a double play to end the threat.
Lewallen retired the final four White County batters, including striking out Tray Gearin to end the game.
McCoy Savage and Lewallen each one hit for North Hall.
Seth Gearin and Peyton Applewhite had the two hits for White County.
North Hall next will travel to Banks County on Wednesday.