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Clayton teams battle through tough season

By Zack Huffman

zhuffman@news-daily.com

As of Monday, the GHSA baseball season is officially a month old. With still another month ahead crunch time approaches as the various teams in the state begin to scramble for valuable region leading into May's region playoffs.

Within Clayton County, the scrambling has been confined to two regions.

4-AAAA

Under the guidance of new head coach Art Wilkerson, the Mt. Zion (6-5:1-2) has enjoyed early success in its attempts to rebuild.

The Bulldogs were at a 5-2 record when they opened their region schedule last week against Forest Park.

Since then, things have gotten tougher for Mt. Zion as it dropped the three games following the win against the Panthers.

"I don't think mentally it's going to get to us that bad, it just hard to reschedule games," said Mt. Zion head coach Art Wilkerson on the Bulldogs' current stretch of losses. "Now that we are in the region part of our schedule, we are playing three games a week, so it puts a damper on things. Then again the more games we can play in the week, the better. These kids would play every day if they could."

The North Clayton Eagles (6-4:2-2) have been experiencing a mixed season without a single three-game streak in either direction. While the Eagles have lost four games since February, none of those losses came t the hands of a team that currently has a losing record.

Jonesboro (3-7:0-3) appears to be in the midst of a skid, having dropped the last four game, with three going to region opponents. The Cardinals' most recent 13-3 loss to Ola was perhaps their biggest loss since the second game of the season when they fell to Fayette County 14-4.

Maintaining consistency is among Jonesboro largest obstacles at the moment, as the Cardinals have been plagued by one or two unfortunate innings costing them entire games.

Forest Park (0-10:0-3) is ten games into the season and the Panthers are still looking for their first win.

Although Forest Park has lost two of its games by just one run, they have only been to hold opponents to single-digit scoring in two games so far.

Forest Park's program is in the middle of what athletic director Steve Cole has described as "complete rebuilding." with new coaching and many new faces on the roster, the Panthers still have a lot of work to do before it can develop into the competitive team is seeks to be.

4-AAAAA

After starting with a 2-0 region record, Morrow (3-5:2-3) has been unable to build momentum, losing its last three games. The Mustangs still have two wins to go before they match last season's win record.

Things may be looking up for Lovejoy. After struggling through a 0-11 start, the Wildcats scored their first season victory against Pebblebrook, scoring 15-3 Wednesday night.

According to coach Craig Chatman, freshman Brandon Chisolm gave up just one hit to Pebblebrook while throwing six strike outs.

Brandon Hope, Brian Stoutamire and Georgia Bowman all scored home runs, with Bowman's being a grand slam.

While Riverdale's 3-8:2-4 may not bode well for the Raiders at face value, the numbers alone betray the fact that after going 1-6 in the first few weeks of the season, the Raiders have two of the last four games.

Much like many of its fellow county teams, Mundy's Mill has been struggling through this season on the diamond. The Tiger won a pair of games against Forest Park to open the season and went downhill from there, losing seven of the following eight games. Their most recent game fell to the hands of Creekside, 8-2.