The Northgate Vikings led from start to finish Wednesday night and held off a late rally from visiting South Paulding en route to a 5-3 Region 5-6A victory.
With the win, Northgate improved to 9-3 overall and 3-0 in region action.
South Paulding dropped to 11-4 overall and lost for the first time in the region, falling to 4-1 in league play.
The second game in the series was scheduled for Thursday at South Paulding after being moved up a day to avoid possible rain forecasted for Friday.
Details from that game were not available at deadline.
In Wednesday’s region clash, both teams hit home runs in the game with the Vikings getting one each from Andrew Baldwin and Sam Jennings.
Cole Hutchinson got into the long ball act for South Paulding.
Dalton Brooks picked up the win from the mound for the Vikings, pitching five innings, striking out seven and walking four.
Reid Fagerstrom earned the save for the Vikings, throwing the final two innings, striking out three and walking none.
Devin Callihan pitched all six innings for South Paulding, striking out three and walking none.
“Anyway you can get a win in the region is big whether it is good, bad or ugly we will take it,” said Northgate head coach Todd Herrington.
Brooks pitched out of some first-inning trouble for the Vikings after running the count full and walking the first two batters.
However, the Vikings retired the next three batters, including Brooks’ first strikeout of the game.
Northgate took control of the game in the bottom of the first, pushing the first run of the contest across the plate.
Lead-off hitter Conner Mask reached on a base hit and later scored on a base hit from Shawn Ragan.
Northgate increased the lead to 4-0 with three runs in the bottom of the second.
Andrew Baldwin belted the first of the games three home runs with one out in the inning.
“I went up there just trying to compete,” Baldwin said. “It’s a big region game against a good team.”
Ryder Willard kept the inning alive with a base hit.
Mask reached for the second time in the game bringing home Willard.
Willard stole second and went to third on an errant pickoff move to set the stage for Mask at bat.
Mask added the final run of the inning on Vickery’s double.
The Spartans put together a three-run rally in the top of the fifth.
Cole Hutchinson, who batted in the ninth spot for South Paulding, produced the Spartans first run of the game with a solo homer.
Northgate retired the next two batters in the South Paulding line up but allowed the Spartans to stay in the inning after an error.
After Tyler Clayton walked, Brett Adkins ripped a double to drive in two runs and cut the Northgate lead to 4-3.
The Vikings added an insurance run when Jennings ripped a solo homer.
“It was a 3-2 count and I was just trying to get a base hit,” Jennings said. “I got under a little bit, but it still went over the fence.”
Fagerstrom came into pitch in the sixth and struckout the first man he faced.
South Paulding put two runners on base after a Northgate error and a hit batter with two outs, but the Vikings pitched out of the inning when Fagerstrom coaxed a ground ball for the third out.
Fagerstrom struckout the first two batters he faced in the seventh, but after a base hit the tying run came to the plate for the Spartans before Northgate secured the victory with a fly ball out.
“I thought we played well for most of the game. I thought when we got the 4-0 lead we relaxed a little bit and lost some focus. I told our guys that was the only thing I was disappointed in,” Herrington said.
Vikings 5, Spartans 3
Spalding 000 0300—3 4 2
Northgate 130 010 0—5 8 3
HR—Andrew Baldwin, Sam Jennings. S. Paulding—Hutchinson.