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Baseball: TJCA’s Win Streak Snapped, Atlanta’s Braves Not So Bad...For Now

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Thomas Jefferson’s longest win streak in school history was stopped last week on the baseball field. Riding high on a six-game win streak, the Gryphons fell 8-7 to Mountain Heritage and then Polk County shut them out later in the week. Luckily, both are 2A clubs in the Western Highlands and the Gryphons still cling to a #1 playoff seed in the 1A portion of the conference for now. Thomas Jefferson is 11-6 overall and 6-5 in conference play.

Over at East Rutherford (13-4), they continue to improve on the year and stay tied (7-1 each) in the SMAC race with Burns. Burns, who won the first meeting played East this Tuesday (4/24) and winning it gives the inside edge to grabbing the conference title for this season.

On the softball field, Chase took a step in the right direction of obtaining the South Mountain Athletic Conference with a 3-0 win over R-S Central last week. East Rutherford still maintains their ground as well, holding the tiebreaker for the top 2A seed in the SMAC at the moment since they defeated the Lady Trojans earlier this season. R-S Central softball got a huge win over Freedom last week though and keeps pace of the No.1 seed on the 3A side of the SMAC. The Lady Hilltoppers sit third overall in the standings behind East and Chase.

Locally, Jimmy Means looks to make a second attempt this year as a car owner to qualify for a Nextel Cup field. The driver hadn’t been named at presstime, but the No.52 Crusader Staffing Toyota needs to only beat three cars that aren’t guaranteed a spot in Saturday night’s short track race in Richmond. Qualifying is Friday 5:30 p.m. on the SPEED Channel.

I know we probably shouldn’t say much about the Atlanta Braves, but you have to be impressed to some extent so far. They didn’t look good in spring training and started off the season with a 2-4 record. However, in the last 10 games, the Braves are 8-2 and hold a 10-6 record overall.

They have speed on the bases from Jason Heyward and Michael Bourn. Heyward brings power, but Freedie Freeman is red hot with the bat right now.

Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor have all done well in most starts on the hill. While all that is nice, Craig Kimbrel has five saves in six appearances. Closing out games was Atlanta’s Achilles heel over the last couple of seasons and Kimbrel is a solid fit for the Braves.

While Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson are both fighting injury at the moment, the Braves again possess potential this year. Whether it leads to a postseason bid with success to follow--who knows? It’s the Braves we are talking about here, but it’s probably too early to diagnose how for real they are.

And the NFL Draft is Thursday (4/26/12). Last year’s Cam Newton option worked out well for the Panthers. This year, most experts are saying that Carolina will go more defensive in the first round and pick Fletcher Cox. They also need a solid linebacker, a couple of defensive backs and a offensive lineman too. I think Cox at defensive tackle would definitely make sense as a first round pick though.
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