Chris Goltermann / Coweta Score
Northgate began an important final week of the regular season the right way while pushing its win streak to seven games on a blustery day at its home field.
The Vikings used a big third-inning to breeze past Sandy Creek 9-2 in the first of four games over five days, highlighted by a key two-game Region 5-6A series with Douglas County to determine playoff seeding.
The win pushed the team’s overall record to 21-6.
Northgate needs a victory over Douglas County either Wednesday in Douglasville or Friday at home to clinch third place and a state playoff berth.
The Vikings entered this week with a 10-4 region record while ahead of both Douglas County (9-5) and Creekside (8-5) in the battle for the final two state playoff berths in 5-6A.
Alexander (12-1) and South Paulding (11-1) play twice this week to determine this year’s region championship. Both suffered a region loss to Northgate earlier this season.
On Monday against Sandy Creek, the Vikings stayed hot at the plate after combining for 23 runs in a two-game region sweep of New Manchester.
Northgate scored three times in the bottom of the first and then used a five-run rally in the third to pull away after the Patriots pulled to within a 3-1 deficit.
Equally, the Vikings stayed sharp on the mound with four pitchers working no more than two innings apiece and combining for nine strikeouts.
Starter Reid Fagerstrom had two while working around four walks in 2 2/3-inning performance where he didn’t allow a base hit.
Relievers Dalton Brooks, Alex Cawood and Andrew Washington held the lead, limiting Sandy Creek to four singles in the win. Washington iced it by recording the final four outs, two of which came on strikes.
At the plate, senior Will Queen’s RBI double in the first inning put Northgate ahead for good with a 2-0 lead while scoring Shawn Ragan and Will Horne during an immediate three-run outburst.
Robert Smith then kept the three-run lead with an RBI single three batters into the third. After consecutive walks to Connor Fortner and Chase Bevil, returning from an extended injury, loaded the bases, Conner Mask cleared them with a three-run double to right to make it 7-1.
Noah Aaron drove in Northgate’s final run in the third and Queen added an RBI single in the fourth that closed out the scoring.
The Vikings overcame five errors on a bitterly cold afternoon in mid April that led to a pair of unearned runs by Sandy Creek.
Northgate returns home on Tuesday to host Columbus at 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday’s schedule features the final regular season meeting between GISA Region 1-AAA rivals Trinity Christian and Heritage School, which meet at 4 p.m., at THS.
Newnan and East Coweta close out the Region 2-7A schedule starting with games Tuesday at Pebblebrook and home against Wheeler. The Cougars and Indians have locked up the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the region and will hopen the Class 7A state playoffs at home next week.
East Coweta hosts Newnan on Thursday in the regular season finale in 2-7A play.