By Derrick Mahone
Dutchtown coach Michael Breedlove gave the perfect pregame assessment two days before his team's key Region 4-AAAA matchup against Jonesboro.
After the teams battled in a classic pitcher's duel earlier in the season, Breedlove predicted the team that makes the fewest mistakes would come out victorious.
Unfortuately for Breedlove, it was his team that made the most errors in a 10-5 loss to visiting Jonesboro on Friday.
The Bulldogs had a disastrous fifth inning, where they committed five errors and give up three runs to break a close game open.
"We kind of kicked ourselves in," Breedlove said. "I can't say I'm pleased, because we made some mistakes. It was one game, and now we are back in the same place."
With the loss, Dutchtown fell to 8-11 overall and 6-4 in the region to remain in fourth place. Jonesboro, which is in third place, improved to 11-7 and 6-4. The top four teams from the region make the playoffs.
"We have to win enough games to get into the playoffs," Breedlove said.
Jonesboro committed four errors on the game, but had enough offense and pitching to hold off Dutchtown.
"That's just high school baseball," Jonesboro coach Raju Patel said. "You just have to play through the mistakes. I knew it would be tough coming over here. It was a battle back and fourth. We were finally able to break it open."
Jonesboro scored four runs in the fifth inning on four errors by the Bulldogs. During the Cardinals' half of the inning, they also got two hits, bu the errors were the main source for the scoring.
Although the contest was close throughout, with Dutchtown holding a 3-2 lead going into the fifth. The Bulldogs were never able to get back into the game, although two runs in the sixth inning.
Senior Jesse Gardner got the win for the Cardinals, who have won sixth straight games. He pitched five innings and gave up five hits and four runs. He also finished with three strikeouts and a walk.
"I think I pitched all right," Gardner said. "I didn't do as good as I would liked. I hit some of my spots. I just have to get a few of my pitches down."
During the winning streak, the Cardinals have averaged double-digit runs against the bottom five teams of the nine-team region. The task gets tougher for the Cardinals on Monday as they travel to Covington to take on state-ranked Alcovy. On Wednesday, Jonesboro host second-ranked Ola.
"Our defense has been good during the winning streak," Gardner said. "We have to eliminate some of the mistakes, because we have been getting some pretty good pitching."
Jonesboro struck first in the contest when Antonio Allen scored on a RBI from Mario Cummings in the first inning. In the fourth, Dutchtown's offense came alive as it took a 2-1 lead when Jason Arrington's two-run double scored Trey Nelson and Kellan Holiday. Nelson reached on a walk and Holiday had a double to reach base.
Nelson got the loss for the Bulldogs after going 5 2/3 innings as he recorded six strikeouts, but gave up five runs on only three hits.
"It was defense," Breedlove said. "We made too many errors. I have to tip my hats off to Jonesboro because they made the plays. We always fight hard. We managed to put ourselves in some holes."