Posted: Wednesday, March 20th 2013 at 11:46pm
Baseball: Trojans rout Dawson Co. in battle of 7-AAA unbeatens
By Jeff Hart Staff
GAINESVILLE -- North Hall baseball coach Trent Mongero said it was no statement game.
But after his Trojans hammered Dawson County 12-1 in five innings Wednesday at Jody Davis Field in the first battle of Region 7-AAA unbeaten teams, somebody is sure to take notice.
“Really it’s just one game,” Mongero said. “But I was proud of how we came out and played against a quality team. One of our most complete games of the season so far.”
The Trojans (9-1, 5-0 Region 7-AAA) got a career performance from senior hurler Preston Graham, who fanned a career-high 13 batters and only allowed two hits, used a 10-hit barrage against two Dawson County pitchers, and were flawless in the field.
Graham said it may be the pinnacle of his high school career to this point.
“I felt real good out there from the beginning,” Graham said. “I just tried to throw strikes and keep them off-balance. I got stronger as the game went on. I’m not sure if I’ve thrown better before.”
Graham, hitting in the ninth spot in the order, even helped his own cause belting a three-run home run to highlight an eight-run first inning.
“The home run was nice. I think I like that better because I don’t get that many,” he said.
The Tigers (6-4, 4-1) came in on a hot streak having won four straight, including a surprising sweep of White County.
But the North Hall offense wasted little time in jumping on Dawson County starter Jeff Partington after Graham set down the Tigers in order in the first.
The Trojans pounded out five hits and took advantage of three Dawson County errors and two hit batters sending 13 batters to the plate in an eight-run first inning. Lincoln Hewett had an RBI hit, Drew Coker brought a run in getting hit with the bases loaded, McCoy Savage drove in one run with a sacrifice fly, and then Graham blasted his opposite field home run to left. Zach Mize would drive in Andrew Smith with a double making it 8-0.
The Tigers would get on the board in the second when Colton Chester ripped a two-out double to center and then scored one batter later on Brodie Chester’s RBI single to cut the lead to 8-1. But Graham did not allow another hit and retired the final 10 Dawson County hitters, nine by strikeout.
The Trojans pushed their lead to 12-1 in the third on RBI hits by Smith, who would score on an error on the same play he knocked in Savage, Colton Duttweiler, and Hewett’s second RBI hit of the game.
The two teams will play again on Friday in Dawsonville to complete the home-and-home series. North Hall will then open a two-game series against Buford on Monday at Jody Davis Field.
Dawson County, North Hall, and Buford all came into Wednesday’s action tied atop the region standings at 4-0. Buford was on the road at Fannin County Wednesday and then at home against the Rebels on Friday.
“Preston really threw well and when we get that kind of pitching I feel like we’re a very good team,” Mongero said. “Friday is another day and I’m sure (Dawson) will be ready to respond. I’m not thinking about Buford until Monday.”
Smith finished with two hits and scored two runs for North Hall. Mize, Hewett, and Graham all had two hits for the Trojans. Duttweiler and Savage had one hit each and Smith, Mize, Duttweiler, Coker, and Savage each had one RBI for North Hall.
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