North Clayton head coach Richard Flowers, left, listens to Mundy’s Mill coach Patrick Smith before the Clayton County All-Star Game on Thursday. (Special Photo: Jerry Jackson)
RIVERDALE — On Thursday night, the best and brightest baseball players from Clayton County assembled at Drew High school for the fifth annual Clayton County All-Star Game.
Players from Forest Park, Morrow, North Clayton, Mundy’s Mill and Jonesboro made up the American team while Mount Zion, Riverdale, Lovejoy and Drew made up the National team.
“It is truly a great honor to not only play but coach in a game like this,” North Clayton head coach Richard Flowers said. “These players were selected by coaches from all across the county, it’s the cream of the crop and it allows them to play with and against great competition.”
The stands quickly filled up on both sides with fans excited for the last high school game of the season.
Getting the start for the National League was senior Brandon Pearson of Drew who was opposed by Mundy’s Mill Terry Owens for the American League. Pearson was lights out in his three innings of action, striking out six batters without giving up a run. Owens’ only blemish in his four innings of play was a wild pitch that allowed two runs to score in the second inning.
In the fourth inning, Pearson was replaced by Lovejoy senior Danyale Brimmer. After walking the first batter of the inning, a series of wild pitches allowed the runner to score to bring it to 2-1. In the next inning, Demarcus Mays of Mundy’s Mill and Travis Clark of North Clayton drove in three runs to put the American League on top 4-2 in the fifth inning.
The National League would respond, however, after walking the bases loaded to start the inning, a RBI by Khari Richards and Brandon Pearson brought the game to 4-4. Mistakes would continue to plague the National League in the sixth inning, more walks and wild pitches would bring another American League run across the plate and while they threatened to score in the sixth and seventh innings Morrow junior Karlton Bailey closed out the game for the 5-4 American League victory.
For some of the senior participants in the game, this is only a stepping stone as they prepare to play collegiate baseball. For others, this game was an opportunity to get noticed by college scouts.
“We compiled teams of the most talented 10th through 12th graders in the county for a showcase game,” Morrow head coach Rod Dunlap said. “Some guys out here already have signed and every year we bring college coaches out here so that they guys who do not will have an opportunity to display themselves.”
For rising seniors like Karlton Bailey, they are just excited and honored to be playing in the game, and looking forward to the success that awaits them in the future.
“These guys are like my brothers, it was an honor to even be out here and compete with them” Bailey said. “I hope this game puts me in good position to have a great senior year and continuing playing in college, it was a great opportunity to play in this game.”