By Jeffery Armstrong
The high school baseball season is coming down to the wire and teams are jockeying for playoff positions.
In Clayton County, the Jonesboro Cardinals are the only team with a shot at making the state playoffs.
The Cardinals are 12-10 overall and 8-6 in Region 2-AAAAA, good enough for fifth place. Four teams from each region will qualify for the state baseball playoffs.
Jonesboro had a chance to cement the third spot in the region, but lost a heartbreaking 6-5 decision to the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles Wednesday evening. Jonesboro was up 5-2 after the fourth inning, but couldn't hold on to win.
"We just didn't make the plays we should've to win against Eagle's Landing," said Cardinals' head coach Don Corr.
Now the Cardinals leap from the frying pan into the fire, as they host the third-place Stockbridge Tigers tonight at 5:30 p.m. The Tigers are one game ahead of Jonesboro with a 9-5 region record and they should be very confident after their dramatic 8-7 victory over Northside-Warner Robins on Wednesday.
"Stockbridge is a good team; they're just as talented as Eagle's Landing," said Corr. "We've got to battle to defeat them."
The Tigers will look to exact some revenge for an earlier defeat to Jonesboro at Stockbridge. Tigers head coach Bill Pate knows that defeating the Cardinals at home won't be an easy task.
"Coach Corr does a great job with his kids and they always get ready to play," said Pate. "It will be a barn burner."
Stockbridge will need to get a handle on two key Cardinals who've had an excellent week so far: Kenyari Addison and Branan Norsworthy.
Addison has reached base in all eight of his plate appearances in two games this week. He has gone 4-for-5 with four runs scored and one RBI and he reached base on three walks and an error. Addison also stole three bases. Norsworthy has gone 4-for-6 with three runs scored and one RBI.
The Lovejoy Wildcats are the next closest Clayton team to a postseason berth. Lovejoy stands at fifth place with a 4-8 record in Region 4-AAAAA, a whopping four games back of fourth-place McIntosh.
In Henry County, all four public school teams are in line for state playoff berths. The Union Grove Wolverines are an outstanding 10-1 in Region 5-AA and their pitcher Clint Neville just threw a perfect game on Wednesday. Union Grove hosts region foe Pace Academy tonight at 5:30 p.m.
The Henry County Warhawks still remain in first place in Region 2-AAAAA despite a big home loss to Houston County Wednesday. The Warhawks (10-4 in the region) face second-place Northside (9-4) in Warner Robins tonight in a key game.
Eagle's Landing is tied with Stockbridge for third place in the region at 9-5. The Golden Eagles are undefeated at home, but haven't fared as well on the road. Now they have to take their show on the road to face Westside-Macon tonight. Westside has a losing record, but the Seminoles played Jonesboro tough before losing on Monday and could upset Eagle's Landing if the Eagles don't play well.
"All our games down the stretch will be tough. We can't take anyone in this region lightly at all," said Eagles' head coach Blake Lyons. "We have to play with intensity from now on."