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Wednesday June 23rd, 2021 1:26AM

STATE FINALS: Do-or-die for North Hall, Franklin Co. in 3A showdown

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
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GAINESVILLE — North Hall baseball coach Trevor Flow put in rather succinctly.

“What high school baseball player WOULDN’T want to be in this position?” he said Saturday night after watching his Trojans battle Franklin County to a split in the two teams’ Class 3A championship series at Coolray Field.

“A winner-take-all for a state championship. You can’t ask for anything more, really.”

North Hall shortstop Jace Bowen said he’s soaking it up for sure.

“We were living the dream out there (on Coolray) and we were hitting on all cylinders in that first game,” Bowen said.

North Hall opened the series with a 13-1, six-inning bludgeoning of the Lions behind a 13-hit attack and a dominant start from Jaret Bales, who also had two hits and three RBI. Franklin County answered, however, with a 3-1 win in Game 2 behind a stellar outing from ace and Region 8-3A Pitcher of the Year Kayne Jinks to stay alive and send it to a deciding game.

First pitch for Game 3 is scheduled for noon on Monday at Coolray Field. North Hall (32-6) is expected to throw its No. 3 pitcher Hunter Brooks (4-1, 1.96 ERA). Franklin County (36-4) is expected to throw Miles Dodd (no stats available).

Nearly everyone in a Trojans uniform will tell you that the key to the title lies in the smallest of details.

“In that first game, we did just about everything right,” Flow said. “In the second game, we weren’t able to execute the little things and that really cost us chances to score. I expect Game 3 will be decided by whoever does the little things best.”

“There are two good teams out there. They’re good, we’re good. We just have to keep doing the little things,” Bales said. “We have a good pitcher (Hunter Brooks) going in Game 3 and we feel confident behind him. But offense will be the key.”

“The key (Monday) will be putting the ball in play and getting some key hits with runners on,” said Bowen, who had three hits and two RBI in the opening game of the series.

North Hall is looking for its second state title in four seasons (2017). The Lions are hoping to claim their first-ever baseball title.

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