By Zack Huffman
Dutchtown earned their second region win Friday night, but they had to fend off Jonesboro's seventh inning rally to stay ahead 10-8.
Mistakes on Jonesboro's part allowed Dutchtown to take an early lead. Although the Cardinals fought back, they were never able to surpass Dutchtown's run total.
"When you play a good baseball team like that, they're going to capitalize before it's over with," said Dutchtown coach Stephen Phillips. "I was proud of my kids for hanging in there and battling the whole way through."
"They came to play, we came to play," said Patel. "It's a good measuring stick for us."
Dutchtown came out strong with Cameron Griffin leading from the mound. Griffin dominated the early innings, earning seven strike out within the first four innings.
Jonesboro, on the other hand, struggled to get its defense activated early, giving up runs in the four of the first five innings.
Jonesboro started off at home plate, but was unable to score any runs before taking three outs. Antonio Allen was starting for the Cardinals. He threw three strike outs in the first inning, but not before giving up four hits and two runs.
The second inning was even tougher for Jonesboro as the Cardinals went from taking three quick strike outs to Dutchtown's Griffin, to allowing three more runs on the defense.
Both teams kept the opposing offense in check for the third innings.
In the fourth, Jonesboro came out strong.
Griffin began to tire, sending Jonesboro's first batter to first on a walk. Then Jesse Gardner stepped up to the plate and belted the ball deep to the left for a triple. The Cardinals stepped up from there putting in a total of three runs before moving to the bottom of the fourth.
Dutchtown's Jonathan Richey rocked a triple on his swong from the plate. He was followed by Wes Kenon who hit a ground ball, sacrificing himself to any easy out for the RBI.
It looked like Jonesboro was poised to take the lead in the top of the fifth. Griffin went from allowing a single on a bunt to open the inning, to loading the bases by beaning two batters in a row.
At this point, Phillips sent in Justin Herring to substitute on the mound. One strike out and two pop flies later, Jonesboro was back on defense.
With runners on second and third, Dutchtown's Cody Yancey came up to bat. The Bulldogs pulled further away when Yancey smashed the ball out of the park for a three-run homer.
"He's been hitting the ball pretty well," said Phillips of Yancey. "It was a crucial time in the game. We had just gotten ourselves out of a bases loaded situation."
Later in the inning, Richey hit a double and stole third before Griffin sent him home on a single to move the score up to 10-3.
The sixth inning was over as quickly as the third.
With just three outs left in the game, Jonesboro attempted to rally, scoring four hits and five runs, before Dutchtown finally put them away with a sigh of relief.
"You get a bounce here and a bounce there. That's just how it is. you never quit fighting," said Jonesboro coach Raju Patel. "We'll get to see them again. It's the kind of game I like to be a part of."
Jonesboro will hit the road again Monday when they face Alcovy. Dutchtown will visit Woodland.