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Clayton schools collide in softball tournament

Photo by Gabriel Stovall / Jonesboro junior pitcher Randi Marshall warms up before pitching the Cardinals to a 7-3 victory over Lovejoy in the Clayton County Tournament's championship game Saturday.

Photo by Gabriel Stovall / Jonesboro junior pitcher Randi Marshall warms up before pitching the Cardinals to a 7-3 victory over Lovejoy in the Clayton County Tournament's championship game Saturday.

LOVEJOY — Softball action was in full effect in Clayton County Saturday as eight of its nine high schools participated in the Clayton County Softball Tournament at the Lovejoy Softball Complex.

The annual event happens during the first half of each season, and gives the county’s teams an opportunity to improve against each other as well as win some bragging rights before getting into the meat of their challenging region schedules.

Jonesboro head coach Parris Andrews said he is glad to give his girls any chance to compete and become better. He said Clayton County softball is not always seen as favorably as its Henry County counterpart.

“It hurts us that we have no feeder program or middle school program here in Clayton,” Andrews said. “So a lot of these kids come around just by word of mouth. I go around some of these places that have good feeder programs and their kids are already prepared to play at this level.”

Jonesboro and Lovejoy both advanced to the championship game where the Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 7-3 .

The two teams were among the County’s best in 2011. The Wildcats finished 17-8 last season, winning the region 4-AAAA crown before being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by eventual state champion Northgate.

Jonesboro finished 11-11 overall last season, and tied Creekside and Mundy’s Mill for second in the region with an 8-2 region mark.

Jonesboro, which narrowly lost 5-4 to unbeaten Stockbridge last Thursday will face Spalding Tuesday. Lovejoy will play at Lovett Tuesday and home against the Lions on Thursday.