Cardinals soar in 2003 season

By Anthony Rhoads

It's been a banner year for Jonesboro athletics.

Numerous teams enjoyed the opportunity to play at the state level including football, girls softball, wrestling (which advanced to the state dual meet), boys and girls basketball and girls and boys tennis. To cap off the season, the baseball team opens play in the state tournament today.

Jonesboro travels to Colquitt County today for a best-of-three series in the first round of the Class AAAAA state tournament.

"We've had a good year here at Jonesboro," Jonesboro head baseball coach and athletic director Don Corr said. "It's been a heckuva year. We're proud of our accomplishments at Jonesboro this year."

It's definitely been a case of ?success breeds success' as the different sports draw encouragement and support from each other.

"A success in one sport moves on to other sports," Corr said. "It helps when one program picks it up and the others follow that example."

The baseball team has several athletes who participate in other sports. One player, Kenyari Addison, will be playing in his third state tournament this year as he was also on the football and basketball teams.

"It kind of feeds over into the spring," Addison said. "It's like one big family and we all cheer for each other to do well."

Jonesboro senior shortstop Zach Maddox looks forward to playing at state and is glad to see the baseball team finish the school year by making it to the postseason.

"It's great," he said. "We wanted the chance to play at state and we're finally here. It's a great accomplishment. A lot of sports have gone to state this year at Jonesboro and we're capping it off right here. Everybody plays together as one as a team. It's a team with team players."

The Cardinals aren't content to just make the playoffs, they want to advance as faras they can.

"I think we'll do well," Jonesboro senior pitcher Adam Harrell said. "It would be great if we win at state."

Before the season started, the Jonesboro baseball team had the goal of making it to state this year. In the past few years, the team has been competitive but fell short of going to the state playoffs. This year, the team wanted things to be different.

"The big difference this year is these guys devoted themselves that they were going to do whatever it takes to get to state," Corr said. "We basically have the same team that we had last year. We had a young group of guys last year and only had four seniors."

This season it also helped that Jonesboro was in Region 2-AAAAA, a 10-team league. In the 2001 and 2002 seasons, Jonesboro was in Region 4-AAAAA which had 16 teams.

"It helps that we're in a new region and not part of a 16-team ?super region,'" Corr said.

Jonesboro is the first Clayton County team to qualify for the state baseball playoffs since Lovejoy went to the Class AAAA Final 4 in 2000.