By Doug Gorman
Tuesday afternoon was a typical practice for the Jonesboro Cardinals baseball team.
The Cardinals worked in the field, spent time in the batting cages and listened to head coach Don Corr give encouragement to his team.
It was all part of the team's preparation process for playing host to Ringgold Friday night in the first-round of the Class AAAA playoffs. The best-of-three series starts Friday with a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. The third game of the series is scheduled for Saturday, at 4 p.m., if needed.
Tuesday's practice was no different than the workouts Corr as been conducting since taking over the Jonesboro program 21 years ago.
In the back of everybody's mind, however, is the fact that the Corr era is about to end at Jonesboro.
Earlier this year, the Cardinals' veteran coach announced he was stepping down after accepting a job as assistant principal and athletic director at Etowah High School
"It's a pretty emotional time for me right now," said Corr. "To be honest with you, we haven't spent too much time dwelling on it. I have asked our parents not to say too much about it. Our job right now is to stay focused on baseball."
Still, it's hard to picture Jonesboro without Corr in the dugout next season.
A year ago, Corr celebrated his birthday by winning the 300th game of his career. Along the way, Jonesboro has made several appearances in the region playoffs and reached the state tournament four times.
The Cardinals are currently on a three-year run of making it to the state tournament.
Monday night before the Cardinals played the Warhawks in the last regular-season game of the season, Henry County officials gave Corr a plaque.
"That was really nice gesture," he said. "It means a lot to be appreciated for what you have tried to do."
Senior Brett Stuart is one of the players who has benefited from playing the game under Corr.
"We are really one big happy family here," Stuart said. "We want to go out on a big note, so he remembers us for a long time."
Stuart doesn't have anything to worry about.
"What's special about this team is how hard they work," said Corr. "They might not be the best team I have had at Jonesboro in terms of overall talent, but they are one of the hardest working teams. They work hard, so that's why they have been successful."
Sophomore Harry Nutter has played two years for Corr, but he also knows what it will mean if the Cardinals make a run at the state title.
"We want to go with a bang," Nutter said. "It's important for us to play hard for coach Corr.
Getting to open the playoff series at home makes it more special for the Cardinals, especially the team's seniors.
"It's great to be playing in our house," said Walker. "It's great when our fans get behind us," Walker said.