By Anthony Rhoads
The Jonesboro Cardinals pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year by sweeping No. 1-ranked Effingham County Friday in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
Now, it's on to round two for the Cardinals as they will play at Starr's Mill Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday's doubleheader will begin at 4:30 p.m. and if needed, game 3 will be Thursday at 6 p.m.
In first-round action, Jonesboro beat Effingham County 5-4 and 3-2.
In Game 1, Harold Walker scored the winning run off a wild pitch in the eighth inning. Walker also had an RBI in the game.
Other standouts included Rashard Brown (three walks, one run, one RBI), T.J. Russo (four hits, one run, one RBI).
Ty Lewis was credited with the victory.
In Game 2, Frankie Crawley and Andrew Dye combined for a one-hitter. Crawley was the winning pitcher in the 3-2 victory.
Scoring Jonesboro's runs were Harry Nutter, Russo and Rashard Brown.
"Our kids played hard," Jonesboro head coach Don Corr said.
Jonesboro entered the state tournament as the No. 4 seed out of Region 2-AAAAA and had lost four straight games to close out the regular season.
Henry County was the only other area team to survive first-round action Friday.
Henry County swept Brunswick 1-0 and 13-0 at home to advance to the second round. Henry County will now play host to East Coweta Wednesday and Thursday for a best-of-three series.
Both teams had been ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA in the gabaseball.net state coaches' poll during the season. Last week, Henry County was ranked No. 3 and East Coweta was ranked seventh.
East Coweta advanced to the second round by beating Lowndes.
East Coweta is coached by Jonesboro graduate Franklin DeLoach, who played for Corr. DeLoach also is a former Lovejoy High School assistant.
In addition to Henry County and Jonesboro, three other teams from Clayton and Henry counties, qualified for the GHSA state baseball tournament this season including Stockbridge in Class AAAAA, Luella in Class AAA and Union Grove in Class AA.
Friday, Stockbridge lost to Wayne County, Luella lost to LaGrange and Union Grove lost to Calhoun
In the Georgia Independent School Association, Eagle's Landing Christian Academy qualified out of Region 1-AAA but lost in the first round to Southland. Southland went on to win the GISA Class AAA state championship.