Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro senior pitcher Darian Alston might be playing his final game in a Cardinals uniform if the team doesn’t win and get some help from Stockbridge.
JONESBORO — It is the situation most baseball purest would love, but not quite the scenario that Jonesboro wants to be in.
Heading into its final regular season game at Riverdale today, the Cardinals most win to have a shot at the playoffs.
However, they will need help in the form of Stockbridge defeating Spalding to make the postseason for a fourth straight season.
“The goal is for us to win,” Jonesboro coach Dan Maehlman said. “It is our last game, and we lost to them (Riverdale) the first time. The only thing we can control is our game against Riverdale. After that, we just have to sit back and see what the baseball gods have in store.”
Spalding has a half-game lead over Jonesboro in the Region 4-AAAA standing. If both win, they will be tied for the fourth and final playoff spot. The No. 4 seed from Region 4-AAAA takes on top-ranked Crisp County in the first round of the state playoffs.
Spalding owns the tiebreaker although the teams split during the regular season. The Cardinals won on Monday 1-0, but Spalding won the earlier meeting 7-4 to own the point differential that decides the tiebreaker.
“I’m not disappointed in the team by any means,” Maehlman said. “I’m more disappointed that it comes down to rooting for a team to lose for us to go to the playoffs. That’s not cool.”
Riverdale won the earlier meeting between the Cardinals 6-2 on March 15. Spalding, which will celebrate its Senior Night, defeated Stockbridge 13-4 earlier this season.
The Cardinals will graduate five seniors off of this year’s team. But Maehlman is confident in next season with the return of four to five freshmen and sophomore that had starting positions.
“This freshman and sophomore class has the potential to be just as good,” Maehlman said. “They will just have to work at it. We lose some real talented kids. We played some really good teams and a fairly good baseball region.”