Region schedules unwind for baseball teams
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
April 06, 2013 12:23 AM | 1271 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Ryan Zentko and his Creekview teammates battle it out atop the Region 7AAAAA standings, the other five baseball teams of Cherokee County are looking to strengthen their positions ahead of the state playoffs, which begin at the end of May.
<Br>Staff photo by Todd Hull
As Ryan Zentko and his Creekview teammates battle it out atop the Region 7AAAAA standings, the other five baseball teams of Cherokee County are looking to strengthen their positions ahead of the state playoffs, which begin at the end of May.
Staff photo by Todd Hull
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While several sports are gearing up for the playoffs, baseball is just hitting the midpoint of its region schedule.

Some teams, like Creekview and Sequoyah, have as many as nine games remaining over the next 20 days.

Creekview (10-6, 9-2) is tied with Pope atop the Region 7AAAAA standings, while Sequoyah (10-6, 5-6) is in the middle of the pack.

Both teams just started their second time through the slate of region teams, but with eight region games remaining, anything can happen.

Right behind Pope and Creekview in the standings is Riverwood, followed closely by Kell and Sprayberry.

Creekview coach Mike Nayman said that, in a region like his, a game or two can make all the difference.

“You know, you’ve got a lot of talented players and talented teams,” he said. “We are certainly in the mix, but you never get a night off.”

Sequoyah coach Joseph Jones hopes a couple games will make the difference for the Chiefs, who have been plagued by injuries. A couple of timely wins could go a long way toward swinging momentum.

“We’ve been down a little bit,” Jones said. “We did play two bad games, but overall, we have hit some balls very hard, although their averages and the scores don’t show it. It will helping getting some guys back.”

Jacob Weems, who missed about two weeks of action, returned to Sequoyah’s lineup at the end of March. Jacob Cagle should be back for the final week of the season.

“We’ll be fine,” Jones said. “We’ve been in basically every ballgame until late in the game, except the game against Pope. I’m pleased with our effort and the hard work that they bring to the field each day.”

Etowah is trying to make itself heard in Region 5AAAAAA. The Eagles (13-5, 4-2) trail Milton and Walton in the standings, but they’ve played more games than either of the other teams.

Cherokee (6-10, 2-3) and Woodstock (10-8, 2-4) are a part of a logjam of four teams with two wins each. Each of the eight teams in the region has at least one victory, and none has more than four wins.

Etowah coach Greg Robinson knows that the second half can make or break any team.

“There are some really good teams in this region,” he said. “It’s going to be a great second half. You just have to take care of your own business.”

The Eagles play Milton today but will then have a week away from competition during spring break. After the break, they will start their second sweep through the schedule, and Robinson hopes his players have learned a thing or two from the first meetings.

“You sure hope (you learn),” he said. “We know we are going to have to swing the bats better than the first cycle through. We got a few gifts, winning some close games early, and then we didn’t think we played as well as we should have in some other games. I just still think that our best baseball is ahead of us. We just need to put a complete game together.

“We are going to need to do some good things in the second half to be able to compete.”

Cherokee is in a similar position. The Warriors, who have yet to play Milton for a first time, will open with the Eagles after spring break, and then repeat the schedule playing at the opposite fields.

Robinson said that with all of the teams playing three games per week for the rest of the season, the pressure falls on the second-and third-tier pitchers.

“You throw your No. 1, and sometimes you get someone’s No. 3,” Robinson said. “Sometimes, your No. 1 won’t be on and you will be facing their No. 1. That second-tier pitching really comes into play when you are playing three good teams in a week. Your 2 and 3 are going to have to carry you until the sticks pick it up a little bit.”

River Ridge (4-11, 3-3) has struggled, but it’s maintained an even record in Region 7AAAA (A) — the only thing that matters in terms of making the playoffs.

The Knights were 1-7 going into region play, so in some ways, things are looking up.

Region 7AAAA is unique in that the teams play three-game series with each team in their sub-region. So far, the Knights have gone 2-1 against Cedartown and 1-2 against Gilmer.

Remaining on the season are Cass and Pickens. River Ridge will host games against Cass on Tuesday and Friday, while traveling to Cass on Thursday. Of their six remaining region games, the Knights will play four of them at home.

They begin their region tournament with a doubleheader April 24.

All of the teams have an even balance of home and away games remaining.
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