Girls face tough competition in Kingsport tournament
By Jonathan PleasantEvery season the Lady Longhorn softball team plays in a series of tournaments outside of their normal conference bouts. Most recently the team traveled to Kingsport to take part in one of the biggest regional tournaments hosted by the Eastman Chemical Company. Having held out through an altered schedule thanks to several spring showers, the girls played in four tough match ups against some of the best talent in East Tennessee. Only one of the teams was local, a kick off match against the Lady Trailblazers from Daniel Boone. As head Coach Dana Smith pointed out that initial showing didn’t turn out as well as hoped.
“The weekend at Eastman we hit well at times and didn’t hit well at times,” Smith began. “The first game we played against Daniel Boone, and we couldn’t play defense to save our life and we couldn’t hit to save our life. Boone is a very good hitting team. Sometimes we show our age and sometimes we don’t. Consistency is one of those things we’ve been talking about so much and that’s all I expect of them.”
After getting blown over by Daniel Boone, Johnson County faced an even worse opponent, The Greenbriar Bobcats from Robertson County. Playing through five innings, the Lady Longhorns managed just one hit, a second inning drive by Brianna Snyder that helped her eventually reach second. That was a close as Johnson County came to completing a run while the Bobcats had put up seven in the same amount of time. Pitcher Cindi Eddington led from the mound and did a fairly good job in the later innings, holding Greenbriar to just one more scoring sweep in the fourth. Yet, the lack of offensive success left the Lady Longhorns unable to counter the earlier push.
“I was impressed with the way we played Green Briar because they are very good,” Smith said about the defeat. “We lost 7-0 and you would think it wasn’t a big deal but it was a very big deal because everyone else was getting killed 13-0, 14-0 even Daniel Boone. Quite a few struck out against us and the interesting thing is that our pitchers are doing their job. It just is our record isn’t showing it. I think if we keep persevering were going to be ok.”
The last two games were against Knox Carter and Cherokee. Both games were actually very close, with Johnson County putting up two runs against the Lady Chiefs from Rogersville while holding Carter to just four runs for the whole game. Snyder was once again one of the only hits in the Cherokee game along with a single from Cindi Eddington in the first inning, but Michala Cretsinger was actually the second runner to make it all the way through after she took advantage of an error.
Several other opportunities presented themselves including a second base drive from Kelsey Duperry in the fifth, but regrettably none resulted in a complete run. By the end of that game Cherokee walked out ahead 6-2, but the Carter game was even closer.
“We lost to Knox Carter 4-0,” Coach Smith said. “We played really well against Knox Carter and should have won that game. We had people on base at different times but not where we needed them.”
Although the tournament didn’t turn out to be quite as successful as Johnson County fans hoped, it was still a good opportunity to see some new talent and to gain more experience. That, coupled with the fact that the girls did at least hold their own in a couple of the games, left Coach Smith with a fairly optimistic assessment overall. “We didn’t win,” Smith admitted. “We lost all four games, but I think as long as they don’t get down, and they don’t seem to be, we’ll be ok.”