Photo by Heather Middleton
By Derrick Mahone
It is a good thing that Jonesboro has a young team. The Cardinals will need those young legs as they make their stretch run to end the season.
Because of inclement weather, and getting a late start on the season, Jonesboro will have 13 of its last 15 games coming against Region 4-AAAA opponents. The Cardinals must also complete those games within the next 19 days before the start of the playoffs.
Entering today's game at fifth-ranked Mundy's Mill, Jonesboro has a 9-4 overall record and is 7-3 in the region. The Cardinals are a game behind Creekside for second place in the region.
"The good thing about this team is that we are so young," Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman said. "They have some strong legs, so playing this many games shouldn't be a problem."
Jonesboro enters the game on a four-game winning streak after having outscored its opponents 63-17 with wins over North Clayton (17-5), Riverdale (19-2), Mount Zion (10-3) and Lovejoy (17-7).
"Our pitching has been coming around," Maehlman said.
Mundy's Mill (15-2, 12-0) won the earlier meeting between the teams with a 6-2 victory on March 14.
"Jonesboro is a good team, and we will have to turn our game up," Tigers coach Patrick Smith said.
The Tigers have won eight of its last nine games, with its only loss coming last Saturday to Redan in a non-region contest. Redan is the only team in the state to defeat Mundy's Mill, which missed the Class AAAAA playoffs by a game last season.
"Redan game was a good scrimmage for us," Smith said. "It was a letdown and bruised a few egos, but we have played well. We will be ready for Jonesboro."
Of the 15 players on the Cardinals team, nine are sophomores. Last season, Jonesboro finished third in the region and was swept in the first round of the playoffs at Lee County.
Jonesboro players said the team has been playing with a lot of confidence since coming back from springbreak this week.
"Our last two wins have really boosted our confidence," Jonesboro sophomore centerfielder Cameron Sutton said. "They (Mundy's Mill) are a good team. We just have to play small ball and mistake-free baseball to have a chance to win."