Usually, a team needs to just “win out” but Jonesboro has to specifically take down Spalding in case both teams finish with identical Region 4-AAAA records. Therefore, the Cardinals have to win by at least four runs to earn the tiebreaker since the Jaguars captured the first meeting 7-4.
“I will post the specifics of what we need to do on our white board before anybody gets in dugout,” Jonesboro baseball coach Dan Maehlman said. “Here is what is at stake, especially for the seniors. You got to win by four or your season is over. We are going to have to make sure that everybody is on the same page.”
However, Jonesboro still has more work to do. The Cardinals have to also defeat winless North Clayton on Tuesday then Riverdale on Wednesday to keep pace with Spalding, which concludes region play against Stockbridge on Wednesday.
The Cardinals, who have won four of their last five games, have a 9-7 region record and Spalding has a 12-6 mark.
“We only got blown out by Dutchtown but everything else was two, three-runs losses,” Maehlman said. “Our pitching has been great all year. It’s been the small things, making errors. If you make errors against kids in good programs who play baseball all year, you are going to lose games because they are going to find ways to score runs.”
Griffin, Locust Grove and Dutchtown are owners of the top three spots in the region, respectively. The Griffin Bears have just three region losses but two have come against Jonesboro, and the Locust Grove Wildcats and the Dutchtown Bulldogs both have six losses.
“There is really not one team in our region that is overpowering,” Maehlman said. “That is why you kind of see the parody. Every team at one point or another has lost to somebody down there towards the bottom of the standings except Griffin.”
If the Cardinals fail to make the postseason, it will be the first time since the 2009 season.
As far as other teams in Clayton County in a similar position, Lovejoy still has a chance for the fourth seed in Region 2-AAAAAA. The Wildcats can definitely help their chances with a win against Alcovy at home.
There is only a 20 percent chance of rain in the forecast Monday so the games should take place as scheduled.