Cardinals look to soar into state sectionals for second straight season

By Anthony Rhoads

Last year, the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals advanced to the state sectionals for the first time in school history.

This season, the Lady Cardinals are focused on a return trip to state as they begin play today in the Area 2-AAAAA tournament today at Lovejoy Regional Park.

"I'm excited about it," Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle said. "We're going in as a better seed, going as a No. 4 seed rather than a No. 7 seed like we did last year."

Jonesboro opens the tournament against Northside-Warner Robins at 4:30 p.m.

Jonesboro beat Northside in the regular season 4-3 at Northside.

"If we come out and play like we know how and can do, we'll be okay," Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle said.

Conkle said the keys to doing well in this years tournament will be the fundamentals.

"We're going to have to get some baserunners across the plate and score some runs and execute the basic things," Conkle said. "We've got an excellent pitcher and I think she'll do well and the defense has to step up and make the plays."

Conkle expects a tough, competitive tournament this year.

"It's been very competitive (in the regular season)," she said. "Nobody has really killed anybody; it's always been one or two runs when the top four teams play each other. It's going to be interesting to see how it turns out."

If the Lady Cardinals beat Northside, they will advance to play at 6:30 p.m. Jonesboro will probably play Stockbridge in the 6:30 game.

Stockbridge is the No. 1 in the tournament and will play either Morrow or Warner Robins today at 4:30 p.m.

Eagle's Landing, the No. 2 seed, plays Houston County today at 4:30 p.m.

Houston County beat Mt. Zion Thursday in a play-in game.

The winner of Eagle's Landing/Houston County will play the winner of Henry County/Westside Macon at 6:30 p.m.

Henry County, the No. 3 seed, plays Westside today at 4:30 p.m.

The Jonesboro Lady Cardinals closed out the 2003 regular season with a 15-0 victory over Mt. Zion Tuesday. The game was called in the fourth inning because of the 15-run rule.

Jonesboro ended the regular season at 15-8 overall and 6-3 in Area 2-AAAAA.

One of the keys for Jonesboro's success has been pitcher Heather Lowry. In Tuesday's regular-season finale, she struck out 10.

"I've been pleased with the way we've been playing," Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle said. "We've got to get our bats going (in the area tournament)."

In other tournament action:

The Lovejoy Lady Wildcats, Mundy's Mill Lady Lions and Riverdale Lady Raiders open play in the 4-AAAAA tournament this week. The Area 4-AAAAA tournament is being hosted by Fayette County.

Forest Park and North Clayton play in the Region 4-AAAA this week.

Call in your tournament results: Softball coaches are encouraged to call in their tournament results.

Reports need to include not only scores but game information as well. Because of deadlines, scores need to be called in before 10:30 p.m. to be included in the following day's edition.

Scores can be reported to (770) 478-5753, ext. 280.