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Playoff spots up for grabs in Region 4-AAAA

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy coach Craig Chatman (left) and Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman each has their teams in next week's Class AAAA baseball playoffs. Jonesboro will be the Region 4-AAAA's second seed while Lovejoy is awaiting results from the weekend to find out its seeding.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Lovejoy coach Craig Chatman (left) and Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman each has their teams in next week's Class AAAA baseball playoffs. Jonesboro will be the Region 4-AAAA's second seed while Lovejoy is awaiting results from the weekend to find out its seeding.

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

There are three sure things about the Region 4-AAAA baseball playoff race.

Mundy's Mill is the region champion and top seed for next week's playoff while Jonesboro will be the second seed. Lovejoy is in the playoffs, but the Wildcats are still unsure of their seeding.

Lovejoy could finish as the third or fourth seed, it just depends on how they finish the regular season, which ends this weekend.

The Wildcats were scheduled to play Banneker Wednesday, but Banneker didn't show up. Lovejoy will end play with Creekside today on the road. Both Lovejoy and Creekside have the same record in region play, and Lovejoy lost the earlier game 19-0.

"I don't know what is going to happen with the Banneker game," Lovejoy coach Craig Chatman said. "If we beat Creekside, we have the inside track to the No. 3 seed."

Every team in the region is trying to avoid the No. 4 seed, which would send them on the road to take on top-ranked and undefeated Wayne County, which is also nationally ranked.

In addition to Creekside, Morrow and Mount Zion remain alive in the playoff picture. For Morrow to get in the postseason, the Mustangs have to defeated a struggling Tri-Cities team and hope that Creekside loses to Lovejoy and Jonesboro.

Morrow, which only won two games last season on the Class AAAAA level, has beaten Creekside twice this season. Tri-Cities has lost its last seven games.

"We have some things that are going in our favor," Morrow coach Tarquiann Bates said. "Our kids must bring their A-game, and we can beat anybody. We tell them that they can not try and do too much. Winning is a lifestyle and we are putting forth the effort."

Jonesboro started the season slow with a 3-3 record, but are now one of the hottest teams in the region. The Cardinals have won 13 straight games, including handing Mundy's Mill its only region loss.

Mundy's Mill clinched its first region title in school history Wednesday with a 13-3 win over Creekside. Junior pitcher Corey Harmon led the way at the plate and on the mound. He had four strikeouts to pick up the win. He was 3 of 4 from the plate with an RBI and scored two runs.

Jonathan Whitted and Matt Wilson had two hits each while freshman Rodney Smith belted his fourth home run of the season with a solo shot. He also scored three runs in the win.

Mount Zion, which started the season 0-3 in the region, could clinch a fourth seed playoff spot with Morrow and Creekside losses, and the Bulldogs winning out.

Chatman is happy that his team doesn't have to depend on anyone else to reach the postseason. It will be the school's first playoff appearance since 2000.

"There is still a lot that has to be decided," Chatman said.