Northwest Whitfield made it a sweep for Region 7-AAAA in the first round of the GHSA baseball playoffs with a 13-6 win Thursday night at Fayette County.
The Bruins (19-14), a No. 3 seed, used a persistent offensive approach and a workmanlike effort from starting pitcher Aiden Hosford to join Cedartown, Pickens and Heritage as Region 7 teams moving on in the Class AAAA bracket.
Northwest rapped out 12 hits and scored in every inning in the deciding game of the best-of-three series, answering in three innings after the hosts had scored to tighten the game. Hank Scruggs opened the scoring with a two-run single in the first inning, with Will Roper adding a two-run double in the third to give Northwest a 5-1 lead.
The Tigers (21-12) cut the lead to 6-4 entering the fifth inning, when Aiden Hosford and Cade Fisher had RBI singles to add to the Bruins' advantage.
Hosford earned the pitching win by scattering nine hits and allowing two earned runs while striking out nine batters in a complete game. Fisher Lloyd was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and an RBI, with Seth Riverman adding two hits and an RBI and Hosford two hits for the Bruins, who won the series opener 9-2 Wednesday before Hampton bounced back 6-2 in the nightcap.
"Aiden Hosford did his job on the mound," Northwest coach Todd Middleton said. "He threw strikes and didn't allow a big inning. At the plate we were disciplined, taking a lot of pitches. It paid off and we were able to keep pressure on them every inning."
Northwest will travel to Benedictine next week for a best-of-three series in the second round.
Bradley Central 17, Soddy-Daisy 6: An 11-run fourth inning broke open the game as the Bears took advantage of four errors by the Trojans. Aiden McClary had four hits and five RBIs for Bradley Central, and Cooper Casteel added three hits and three RBIs.
Sale Creek 4, Oliver Springs 1: Drew Hillian plated two runs for the Panthers, while pitchers Maverick McCrary and Camden Penny combined to scatter five hits.
Harriman 3, Sale Creek 2: A three-run second inning proved too much to overcome for the Panthers.
Hixson 12, Chattanooga Christian 3: Kane Johnson led the way with three hits and four RBIs, Maddox Russak added three RBIs, and Nico Castro earned the win by pitching all seven innings, striking out eight batters in the process.
Jefferson 5, Northwest Whitfield 0: The Lady Bruins' season ended in the GHSA Class AAAA state semifinals for the second straight year.
Hixson 6, Central 5: Zoie Sullivan did a little bit of everything to help her team win, going the distance in the pitcher's circle — while striking out 11 batters — and delivering three hits and three RBIs, including the walkoff winner.
McMinn County 10, Bradley Central 5: Trailing by a run in the seventh, the Lady Cherokees struck for six runs in the inning for the come-from-behind win. Reagan Wade collected three hits and three RBIs for McMinn County, and Taylor Hancock also had three RBIs.
Walker Valley 16, Howard 1: The Lady Mustangs scored in each of the first four innings and outhit Howard 13-1. Hannah Guffey had three hits, and Sierra Brown drove in four runs.
Rhea County 9, Ooltewah 0: Chelsea Reel went the distance for the win, allowing four hits while striking out five batters, and the Lady Eagles took advantage of 12 errors. Emma Gentry drove in three runs and Lakyn Lockhart added two RBIs.
Tellico Plains 4, Meigs County 3: Tellico Plains rallied for two runs in the sixth and two more in the home half of the seventh for the win. Toryn Lawson had four hits for Meigs County and Kennedy Majors drove in a pair of runs.
Silverdale Baptist 16, Grace Academy 1: It took just three innings for the Lady Seahawks to secure the win as they scored nine runs in the first and continued to pull away. Avery Danz had a pair of hits and two RBIs, and Heidi Bryant and Bentlee Stiner also drove in two runs apiece.
Compiled by Stephen Hargis and Lindsey Young. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.