Horns squeak by Raiders in second round of tourney
By Jonathan PleasantHaving lost a narrow game against the Sullivan East Patriots, the JCHS baseball team was back on the field at Milligan College for their second round in the District 1 AA conference tournament. This time the Longhorns faced off against the Sullivan North Golden Raiders and their pitcher Chase Arnold.
With lead pitcher Ryan Mahala making his first appearance in the tournament it became an intense battle on the defense. Mahala went all seven innings, striking out nine batters with only three hits. The Longhorns had just as much trouble with Arnold, and even those hits that did get through were often cut short by strong plays from North’s infielders. “There was some pretty decent pitching,” said Head Coach Pete Pavusek. “Ryan Mahala pitched very well. He was a little wild but effectively wild. They threw Chase Arnold and he threw pretty well.” In all Johnson County had nine actual hits, but only four of those actually resulted in runs and all of those in the fifth inning.
The Raiders could not mount much of an offense either, although they were able to bat in one runner in the second and another in the fourth to gain the initial lead. Despite some strong plays, there were also several weak moments on both sides, resulting in several defensive errors. According to Pavusek, “It was sloppy. There were four errors for both sides and we scored four runs in one inning and that was it. It was enough, but we only scored in that one inning and we struggled again hitting, like we’ve done all year. We left a lot of base runners on and had a lot of opportunities we let slip away.”
The four successful runs came mainly from the team’s senior lineup, including Judd Hammons, Jacob Henson, and River Cazire. The fourth actually went to freshman Alex Tressler who filled in as a courtesy runner. While these were the only complete advances, there were several other big hits including one from Daniel Helm that earned him an RBI.
As a double elimination tournament, both Johnson County and North already had one loss behind them; meaning that whichever team lost this game would effectively be out of the tournament. Because of this added pressure, the Raiders put everything they had to regain the lead coming into the sixth. Mahala was once again able to stop North before too much damage could be done, letting just one runner squeak through.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.