By Zack Huffman
As the dark clouds enshrouded the baseball diamond at North Clayton High School, one team breathed a sigh of relief while another cursed their luck.
The Jonesboro Cardinals were up 11-0 in the top of the fourth when the umpire saw lightning and called the game just in time for the rain to pick up.
"It was definitely devine intervention," said North Clayton coach Doug Henry. "It was a good time to hit the restart button."
Although he was happy with his team's performance, Jonesboro coach Raju Patel was disappointed that without the required four and a half innings of play, the 4-AAAA match up between the Cardinals and Eagles will have to be restarted at a later date.
"We were on a roll," said Patel. "We were hitting the ball real well."
Both teams came into the game on their longest winning streaks of the season. Jonesboro had gone three straight, while North Clayton brought four wins under its belt.
Although Jonesboro had already lost too many region game to qualify for the state playoffs, North Clayton may still have a chance if the Eagles can win out the rest of the season, while Griffin, who is currently ranked fourth in 4-AAAA, loses every one of its remaining games.
According to Henry, the Eagles have a difficult hill to climb. It did make things any easier that they were missing two top seniors from the team.
Not only were the Eagles lacking the power that came from their usual first and second-batter, their absence delivered a moral blow against the roster.
"It took a toll on our team," said Henry. "We just have to fight through it."
Henry said the two players should be ready to return to the field by Monday.
"Fortuntely for us, it is a short-term thing," he added.
Jonesboro did not hesitate to take a commanding lead from the very first inning.
With just a single out, Jonathan Smith hit a double. Mario Cummings and Demetrius Rogers were then walked to load the bases.
That was when Carmen Jones stepped up and belted a grand slam over the fence to put Jonesboro up 4-0 in one inning.
Pitcher Antonio Allen shut down North Clayton in all three of its innings at bat, scoring four strikeouts while only allowing one hit and one walk.
In the second inning, Cummings hit a double, to send Smith home.
Just when it looked like Jonesboro might be slowling down, the Cardinals came into the third inning and blasted the game wide open.
Jones, Jared Gilliam and Brandon Beal were all sent home on a triple from Perry Woods.
Woods was then sent home along with Allen on a double from Smith.
By the time the game entered the fourth inning, Jonesboro was dominating 10-0, meaning they just needed to score five more runs or last until the end of the fifth inning to complete the game on a mercy ruling.
After they are able to make up Thursday night's game at North Clayton, Jonesboro will host the Eagles and Stockbridge to round out their season.
Aside from two more game against Jonesboro, North Clayton still has Dutchtown and Griffin along with non-region opponents Meadowcreek to content with before baseball season ends for the Eagles.