JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Northview used 12 hits and a solid performance from pitcher Avery Thomas to earn its first region win of the season against crosstown and region rivals Johns Creek (7-4, 2-1) Friday. Northview (9-2, 1-2) opened an early lead and used a five-run seventh inning to down the Gladiators, 11-2.
Northview’s Avery Thomas got the start for the Titans, pitching 5.2 innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs and striking out seven.
The Titans offense had standout performances from Matthew Pacifico and Michael Trautwein, Grifin Cheney and Mac Bolton. Pacifico, who also came in relief for Thomas on the mound, was 3-4 with a walk. Trautwein was 2-3 with two RBIs, Cheney went 2-4 with four RBIs and Bolton was 3-4 with an RBI.
The Gladiators Hayden McIlwaine pitched five innings for the Gladiators and had a solid outing, striking out four and giving up just three hits. But after he was pulled, the Gladiators had inconsistency on the mound, cycling through three pitchers in two innings.
Northview opened a 2-0 lead after the first inning and built the lead to 3-0 in the top of the third after three straight singles.
Johns Creek got its only runs of the game in the bottom of the third after a Matt Gravely double scored Chandler Drake and a Brandon Crews single scored Gravely. Drake was the sole Gladiator with multiple hits, going 2-4 with two singles.
Northview built its lead to 6-2 in the top of the sixth with RBI singles from Trautwein and Pacifico.
Johns Creek looked poised to cut into the Titans lead in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases on two errors and a walk. Pacifico had taken over for Thomas on the mound and with the bases loaded and two outs, he got the first of his four straight strikeouts. Pacifico struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh.
With a four-run lead, Northview added plenty of insurance in the top of the seventh. Northview had two singles to start, and three straight walks from the Gladiators’ Cole Neuber and Kirk Ehrhardt. With Johns Creek looking deflated, an error, fielder’s choice and another walk with the bases loaded allowed Northview to take an 11-2 lead.
After dropping its opening two region games against Cambridge and Alpharetta, the win was crucial for the Titans to improve to 1-2 in region play. The Titans opened the season 8-0 against non-region opponents.
It was the first region loss for Johns Creek. The Gladiators will continue region play this week against Pope and Dunwoody.