THOMSON --- Andrew Roy drove in the winning run with a one-out sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Northside-Columbus to a 4-3 victory over Thomson on Thursday.
The Patriots took Game 3 of the best-of-three series in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs and advanced to play Cartersville next week.
The loss ends Thomson's season -- one of its best in four decades. The Bulldogs earned their first baseball region championship since 1969. They finished 17-10, dropping their last two games to the Patriots.
Thomson coach Terry Holder and one his star players, Abram Cartledge, were not with the team for Game 3. Both were ejected in Game 2 by umpires after separate incidents.
The two listened to the game via radio while sitting in the coach's pickup truck off campus.
"It was a remarkable season to say the least," Holder said. "This program really improved a lot from the time we started the season until we finished in the second round of the state playoffs. I'm very proud of how far our program has come. We just have to work hard and continue to get better and better from here on out."
Rhett Jones worked 6q innings before being relieved by Tim Massengale, the winning pitcher in Game 2. The game was tied at 3 with Thomson threatening with Nick Rau and Jake Unokur on base.
Massengale struck out freshman pinch hitter Austin Cooper before getting Dontavis Brown out on a ground ball to third.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Patriots loaded the bases with no outs.
Carson Banks was forced out at home plate on a nice defensive play but catcher Jonathan Talkington bobbled the ball on the throw to first, preventing a possible double play. Roy then came up with a RBI sacrifice fly to left fielder Will Tankersley.
"What a great series it turned out to be -- going all three games," Northside-Columbus coach David Smart said.
"We were very fortunate to come to Thomson and beat such a fine team that is so well coached."
Thomson jumped out to a 3-0 lead after by the third inning. Phillip Anderson hit a leadoff double to left in the second and scored the game's first run on a groundout by Andy Grimaud. In the third, the Bulldogs struck for two more runs on a pair of singles from Zach Washington and Will Anderson. The big hit came off the bat of Cody Ewest, who had an RBI double.
The Patriots scored their first two runs in the third and tied the game in the fifth with Banks scoring on a passed ball.