Unicoi wins over JC 9-3
By Jonathan PleasantJohnson County’s girls played against Unicoi for the first time this season last Tuesday night at home and the results were at best mixed. Contact on the ball was sporadic overall, with only four hits in all added to a couple of walks. Two of those were amazing home run drives by pitcher Cindi Eddington and a third was a double by Jayme Jennings. Despite those advances there were just as many strikeouts, and more disturbing for the Lady Longhorn coaching staff, several standing strikeouts.
“We played better than what the score shows,” began Head Coach Dana Smith. “We pushed a really good game. We kept them off balance a lot. Cindi hit two out to start off with and we were ahead two nothing. Overall I was pleased, but what I wasn’t pleased with was that some of our hitters had three strikeouts standing and weren’t fouling balls off enough. That’s one thing Unicoi does, they were battling, and battling, and battling. I keep trying to tell them if they don’t battle it’s going to hurt us eventually.”
Defensively Johnson County actually did a very good job holding the Lady Blue Devils through the whole first half of the game. Both the first and second innings went by without Unicoi getting on base and even when they did hit a double in the third the runner was left on base before any damage could be done. The turning point in the game came in the fourth when, with two outs on the board, the Lady Blue Devils began a series of consecutive hits including one homer that eventually allowed them to put in five runs.
“We gave up five runs with two outs then we gave up the next runs with two outs,” lamented Coach Smith. “We haven’t done that all year. We only had a couple missed cues defensively so I was pleased. We kept the ball in the infield most of the time. They were hitting balls in the gap and we were stopping the ball and keeping it in the infield. They weren’t getting extra bases. They hit one out and I don’t even know how they hit it out because of where we put it. They are a very good hitting team, a very good team, a very balanced team. I was pleased with our effort. We played well here.”
As Smith pointed out, Unicoi had another smaller sweep in the sixth inning and together it was enough to give them a 9-3 win. While this seems like a pretty big loss, a couple of missed plays would have seen much different results and Coach Smith is still optimistic about the Lady Longhorns road ahead.
“We’re at the beginning of April,” Smith began. “We still have a lot of season left. We haven’t played East, we have only played Happy Valley once. We have to play them here. We play Unicoi there. South we play Thursday. South has improved tremendously so Thursday is going to be an interesting game on our part because we are going to their field. We beat them here but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. We’re going to have to go in with the idea that we’re going to have to work hard. It’s just when I look at them if they would just push through and keep pushing through we’re going to be ok.”