By Jeffery Armstrong
The Jonesboro Cardinals' baseball team is forming a disturbing pattern heading toward the state playoffs.
For the second straight game, the Cardinals have jumped out to a decent lead only to see their opponents come back to tie the score. This time the Cardinals came out on the losing end, succumbing to the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles 6-5 at Eagle's Landing in Region 2-AAAAA action Wednesday evening.
"This win was big because it keeps us in the third spot in the region," said Eagles head coach Blake Lyons. "We've got to take care of business from now on."
The Jonesboro loss spoiled another great day from Cardinals left fielder Kenyari Addison, who went 3-for-3 with a walk, a run and an RBI. In fact, Addison scored Jonesboro's initial run in the first inning. He walked, reached third on an error by Eagles' shortstop Blake Austin and scored on a groundout by Cardinals' third baseman Rashard Brown.
Eagles starting pitcher Michael Sanders held Jonesboro (12-10, 8-6) to just two singles over the next two innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth.
The Cardinals scored four runs in the inning before getting an out to lead 5-1. Second baseman Mike Farinas had a run-scoring single and also stole home while designated hitter Branan Norsworthy (2-for-3, one run, one RBI) doubled in a run and scored on a single by Addison.
Jonesboro starting pitcher Derek Haynie handcuffed the Eagles (13-7, 9-5) for the first four innings, giving up only one earned run, a solo home run by Sanders to make the score 5-2 in favor of Jonesboro.
"My teammate Luke Murton has been helping me with my hitting and it paid off," said Sanders, a junior. "I didn't have my best stuff [on the mound] tonight, but that homer made me feel a little better."
Sanders would feel even better after the fifth inning, as the Eagles scored three runs to tie the game at five. Jonesboro made two consecutive errors which led to two runs and Sanders helped his own cause with a single that scored designated hitter Matt Glass. Sanders was 2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs.
Ty Lewis replaced Haynie on the mound for Jonesboro in the sixth and walked Eagles' pinch-hitter Marcel Fearon with one out. Nathan Christenson ran for Fearon, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by center fielder T.J. Taylor for the 6-5 lead.
Jonesboro tried to rally in the top of the seventh. Addison singled and stole second with one out. Brown followed with a shot up the middle, but Eagles' shortstop Austin made a great play to snag the ball and throw him out. Jonesboro catcher Chris Smith grounded out to second to end the game.
"You've got to tip your hat to Eagle's Landing; they played well," said disappointed Cardinals head coach Don Corr. "We just kept throwing the ball all over the place in the fifth inning and that hurt us."
Jonesboro hosts Stockbridge Friday while Eagle's Landing travels to play Westside-Macon.