The Blue Devils are 14-4 overall, 8-2 in Region 4AAAAAA and took a share of the region lead with their win over McEachern on Friday.
Coach Chris Stafford has made a significant impact on improving the baseball program since arriving in 2009, and that ascent will hit another checkpoint next Saturday, when he leads his Blue Devils into a game with Alpharetta at Turner Field.
Marietta’s game will be one of a handful of his school games at Turner Field that day, and the first involving a Cobb County team since Kell played Walton in 2009.
“I’ve known of the opportunity but never participated in it before,” Marietta coach Chris Stafford said. “Alpharetta and us were scheduled to play a non-region game and we got to talking about looking into the opportunity. We both decided that we wanted to play, and we both wanted to go through the process of the fundraising aspect requirement so we could get the game.”
For the athletes, the opportunity is priceless.
“I’m really excited,” Jordan Mathis said. “We’re going to be playing where the major leaguers play.”
At the same time, Mathis insists the focus is still on the season, not a scene.
“We’re going to take it as another game and focus on getting the win for Marietta,” Mathis said. “But it’s pretty cool and pretty exciting to be able to play where we watch professionals play on television.”
Marietta has won 11 of its last 13 games. For an improved ball club, the chance to play at Turner Field appears to be a well-earned opportunity.
“The season has gone really well,” Mathis said. “We made a major step from last year. We’re more dedicated to the sport.”
Mathis, a second baseman, will have a chance to play in the hole usually manned by the Braves’ Dan Uggla, though he considers slugging outfielder Jason Heyward his favorite player.
Stafford, a Georgia native and lifelong Braves fan, said the chance at managing in the dugout that Bobby Cox once manned “is going to be a thrill for me.”
Admission, which is $8, will give fans access to the Marietta-Alpharetta game, as well as the Braves’ game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 30. Tickets can be purchased by contacting a Marietta Extra Inning Club member, a coach or a player.
The teams are asked to meet a quota of 2,500 tickets sold.
“It’s a great fundraising opportunity. We get the opportunity to play at Turner Field through selling tickets,” Stafford said. “But the experience for our guys to walk out on that field and say that they played there, I think, is something they’re going to remember for the rest of their life.”
Marietta Daily Journal sports writer Carlton D. White contributed to this report.