By Doug Gorman
The last time the Jonesboro Cardinals baseball team made the state playoffs many of its current members weren't too far removed from playing T-ball.
Now for the first time since 1996, the Cardinals have earned a spot in the Class AAAAA's version of the big dance.
"It's a new season now," said head coach Don Corr, who was also the coach at Jonesboro when the Cardinals were eliminated by Evans in first round of the state tournament seven years ago.
Jonesboro heads to the tournament as the No. 3 seed out of Region 2-AAAAA and will open the best-of-three series at Colquitt County starting Thursday.
The two teams will play in a doubleheader Thursday, then play the third game back at Colquitt County, if needed on Saturday. The series will skip a day on Friday because of Jonesboro's prom.
Thursday's first pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.
It took plenty of drama over the weekend and some intervention from the Region 2-AAAAA executive committee on Monday to determine the four playoff representatives.
Henry County and Eagle's Landing each finished with (13-5) records, but Henry County earned the No. 1 seed based on tiebreakers.
Both Henry County and Eagle's Landing will open the playoffs at home on Friday.
The Warhawks take on Lowndes, while the Golden Eagles play Coffee County.
Warner Robins earned its playoff spot as the fourth seed in a bit of controversy with Stockbridge.
Both teams finished with 11-7 records, but Warner Robins earned the playoff spot. Stockbridge had hoped to settle the fourth playoff spot in a five-inning mini-game, but the executive committee ruled against the Tigers.
Jonesboro was still riding a wave of excitement on Monday when it returned to the baseball field for practice.
The Cardinals played their way into the playoffs with a 5-4 victory against Warner Robins Saturday. Jonesboro clinched its victory in the bottom of the seventh when Brannan Norsworhy came across with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a wild pitch.
The victory came less than 24-hours after the team dented its playoff chances with a loss to rival Henry County.
"It was good to see us bounce back from that tough loss on Friday," Corr said.
Jonesboro faces a Colquett County team which had a chance to win its region title heading into the last day of the season.
A loss to Lee County gave Colquitt the No. 2 seed.
"They are a really good team," Corr said. "They have two really good pitchers and some really tough hitters."
Jonesboro's veteran baseball coach knows exactly what it's going to take to win the series against Colquitt County.
"Our hitting has really come around lately," he said. "We are going to have to keep that up and get quality pitching out of our staff."