RABBITTOWN — North Hall coach Trevor Flow was breathing a little bit easier after Friday’s 15-2, five-inning demolition of East Hall at East Hall Park.
In 2017, the Trojans came into their series finale with the Vikings ranked No. 1 in Class 3A and undefeated in Region 7-3A action. They left with a 3-0 loss that began a tailspin of six losses in seven games to end the season.
“We talked about it before the game from the standpoint that this team, with seven new players, had not earned anything yet,” he said. “They came in 30 minutes early today to hit the cage and they looked very focused.”
It was apparent from the opening batter. The Trojans (17-3, 12-0 Region 7-3A) needed just four batters to grab the lead as Caleb Clark led off with a single and advanced to second on an error on the play. After a sacrifice by David Seavy, Clark scored on a two-out single by Charlie Erickson.
North Hall sent 23 batters to the plate over the next two innings scoring six runs in each of the second and third innings to blow the game open. On the mound, senior Mark Swett took a perfect game into the fifth inning before giving up two hits and two runs.
This time, the Trojans closed out their series with the Vikings with a playoff spot firmly in hand.
“It was something that we remembered and this was a big game for us,” Flow said. “It was probably our first complete game -- pitching, defense, offense all playing well at the same time -- of the season.”
After Swett retired the Vikings in order in the bottom of the first, the Trojans went back to work in the second sending 10 batters to the plate. Caleb Wiley doubled, Tyler Brooks was hit by a pitch, and Caden Bales laid down a perfect bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Dylan Wiley and Clark both singled in runs, and Erickson knocked in Dylan Wiley on a sacrifice fly. Jackson Dyer followed with a two-run triple for a 7-0 lead.
Swett again got the Vikings in order in the bottom of the second and the Trojans continued to batter the Vikings pitchers sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring six more in the top of the third. Clark chased East Hall starter Levi Crocker with a two-run double and Erickson and Dyer both had RBI in the inning as they pushed the lead to 13-0.
North Hall got the final runs in the fifth when pinch-hitter Caleb Payne doubled in a pair of runs with two out.
But Swett (5-1) would lose the perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout in successive batters when he hit Tripp Rider to start the fifth, Mike Matuska singled to left, and Crocker knocked in Rider. Matuska later scored on an error.
Crocker (2-3) took the loss for the Vikings surrendering 10 runs on 10 hits in just 2 1/3 innings.
North Hall can wrap up the region title next week taking on Greater Atlanta Christian in a three-game series. Two of the three games will be at Jody Davis Field, beginning on Monday. One win would clinch no worse than second place and two wins would clinch the title.
East Hall (10-11, 5-7) remained in fifth place one game behind Dawson County. The Vikings and Tigers (10-12, 6-6) will open a huge three-game series on Monday in Dawsonville.