By Anthony Rhoads
It's just a game.
That's what coach Jody Davis has been trying to instill within the players of the Jonesboro Cardinals 7-8 year-old baseball team.
The squad has seen its share of tragedy over the past year.
Last June, teammate Jordan Curtis was killed in a tragic accident at a local Wal-Mart. In December, coach Doug Jackson was left paralyzed after an accident at his home.
"We had a tough year," Davis said. "The boys are playing for Jordan and Doug. First of all, we're teaching them that it's just a game. We have good parents and good kids. These boys have gone through a lot and they're dealing with a lot of life experiences now."
Monday night in an AABC district tournament at Rum Creek Park, the team was losing 10-9 in the fifth inning to the McDonough Phillies.
With two outs and one runner on, Tevin Jones smacked a walk-off home run to give his team an 11-10 victory.
Also hitting a home run in the contest was Pervis Reynolds.
The victory keeps up the team's unbeaten season; the Cardinals are currently 32-0-2 in 2003.
"It was a good ball game," Davis said.
Prior to the baseball game, the Cardinals arrived in style. Coaches arranged for the team to come to the baseball field in a limousine.
"With the kind of season they have had, we thought it would be nice," Davis said.
The Cardinals advance to play the Gresham Park Diamondbacks Thursday at 6 p.m.
Gresham Park defeated the North Clayton 13-2 Monday.
McDonough will play North Clayton Wednesday at 8 p.m.
In other district action at Rum Creek Monday:
11-12 year-old tournament: The North Henry Pirates beat the Jonesboro Braves 10-2 to advance.
Kirk Cross allowed no earned runs in five innings and Kelsey Moore led the way at the plate by going 2-for-3.
Coach Russ Dingess also stressed that outfielder Eric Rogers had a solid game on defense.
"He was outstanding at right field and made a heads-up double play at first base," Dingess said.
North Henry plays the Fayette County White Sox Thursday at 8 p.m. Fayette County beat the North Clayton Giants 14-6.
North Clayton and Jonesboro will play Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the losers' bracket.
9-10 year-old tournament: The Redan Indians beat the Central DeKalb Mariners 18-2 and the Fayette County Dawgs beat the Cascade Black Yankees 6-0.
13-14 year-old tournament: The Sandtown Cubs beat the Brown's Mill Pirates 6-4.
The McDonough Hurricanes and the Shiloh Phillies played in the late game. The game was not completed by deadline but at the end of the fifth, McDonough trailed 8-5.