THOMSON --- A leadoff homer by Northside-Columbus' Matt Hall in the first inning held up, as the Patriots beat Thomson 1-0 and tied the best-of-three game series with the Bulldogs on Wednesday.
Thomson took the first game, 7-4.
The two teams will meet again at 4:30 p.m. today in Thomson for the right to advance to the third round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
"Game 2 came down to two real good pitchers getting after it," Northside-Columbus coach David Smart said, referencing his starter, Tim Massengale, and Thomson's pitcher, Will Anderson. "Both of them really pitched fine games."
Massengale, a junior right-hander, allowed Thomson just two hits in going the distance and striking out 14 while walking six. He was able to pitch out of jams in the second, when the Bulldogs loaded the bases, and again in the sixth and seventh innings.
"My arm stayed strong the whole game," Massengale said, praising Hall for having gotten the biggest hit in the game.
"It happens," Anderson said. "When you pitch, you sometimes give up a home run. We'll just have to come out and give it everything we've got in order to win Game 3."
Thomson southpaw Abram Cartledge picked up the victory in the first game, going the distance.
Game 2 of the series turned out to be doozy.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs threatened. Massengale earlier had managed to strike out the first two batters he faced, Jake Unokur and Zach Washington, before a miscue by the third baseman allowed Dontavis Brown to reach first base.
The junior right-hander later walked Thomson's Will Anderson on four pitches, which led to the next batter, Cody Ewest. The first two pitches thrown from Massengale were called balls before the count eventually evened at 2-2. On the next pitch, Ewest was called out on strikes after the home plate umpire asked for help on a check swing from the crew chief at first base.
Thomson coach Terry Holder came onto the field and disputed the call, but to no avail.