Tomahawk Talk: Fishing can be family fun

Crystal Carpenter is shown with a nice trout she caught on Watauga Lake. The fish provided a great meal just a few nights later.

 

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

Some of the best fishing in Tennessee can be found just down the road at Watauga Lake, which is located in Johnson and Carter County. I had the pleasure recently to view the lake, which covers over 6400 acres.
I ran upon a couple whose favorite fishing spot was near Watauga Dam, which was completed in 1948 after construction began in 1942.
The Watauga and Elk Rivers border the lake and the water is high at present.
Harold Street and his daughter Crystal Carpenter love to trout fish on the Watauga. The father and daughter duo have caught several whoppers in the past month, and many are much larger than in recent years.
“The fishing has been unbelievable, but it’s the time that we get to spend with each other that so special,” said Carpenter. “I enjoy getting to fish on the lake with my dad. It’s something we’ve enjoyed doing together for years.”
Carpenter stated that several areas where they fish can be 250 feet or deeper. The area where they have had their most success at is around 277 feet deep.
“It varies where we go,” said Carpenter. “We ride the lake all the way from Carter County into Johnson County. You couldn’t find anything more beautiful than riding up and down the lake.”
Carpenter is actively involved in her church at New Hope Ministries where she serves as treasurer. She agreed that nothing came before her church, even fishing.
“We come up sometimes on Sunday after church, but we won’t miss a service for it. There is plenty of time in the afternoons and on Saturday to get in some good fishing. I can always find the time.”
Carpenter’s fishing has been put on hold for the moment due to her daddy being involved in a car accident.
“He was sitting at the red light in Hampton, and a drunk driver ran the light and totaled his truck. He’s got banged up some, and he’s really sore and needs everyone’s prayers. I give God all the glory for allowing him to live. I don’t know what I would do without him.”
I am asking our Tomahawk readers to keep Mr. Street in your prayers.

Johnson County shocks JC All-Stars 7-4

Johnson County’s 9-10-year-old Stars do a little dancing like the Rockettes after their 7-4 win over JC Majors. Photos by Tim Chambers

 

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

GRAY—A determined group of future Longhorns didn’t back down from a superior Johnson City Majors squad. Instead, they found a way to earn a comeback win in dramatic fashion.
Johnson County’s 9-10-year-old Little League All-Stars took down the Majors 7-4 in the first round of the District Tournament played at Daniel Boone’s Little League Field. The game was stopped in the third inning for 15 minutes due to the heat. The temperatures remained near 90 after the stoppage and Johnson County’s bats stayed hot.
“We hit it well in the third and fifth innings,” said manager Charlie Jennings. “Our pitchers did a great job of throwing strikes, and our defense did a great job of making plays in the field. I felt like we played as a team and the chemistry was very good on the field. This was a huge win for us. Beating them in All-Star play is always special to us.”
It all started in the third inning with the Junior Longhorns trailing 2-0.
Isaac Lewis got things started with a double then scored on a triple off the bat of Braxton Bragg. The Horns tied the game on an RBI single by Carson Jennings then took the lead on Juan Mejia’s run-scoring base hit to go up 3-2.
“When Braxton hit the triple it got us going,” said Jennings. “Lewis that the big leadoff hit and we just kept hitting. It gave us confidence when we finally got the lead.”
The Majors rallied to retake the lead in the following inning.
Ben Cleveland had a clutch two-run single that put them back on top 4-3, but the Longhorns weren’t about to fold.
They rallied for four runs in the fifth by knocking the cover off the baseball.
Jennings got it started with a leadoff single then moved to third on a double from Kaden Blevins. Mejia’s put them back in front with a double scoring Jennings and Blevins for a 5-4 advantage. Eli Tester kept the fire going by doubling in Mejia then Ethan Smith’s groundout extended their lead at 7-4.
The Longhorns used three pitchers, and all of them threw well.
Blevins started on the mound and worked three and 2/3’s innings. He fanned four and allowed only one earned run. Lewis came on to toss 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. He was credited with the win.
Jennings convincingly closed on the mound by striking out a pair of batters in addition to making a great defensive play to earn the save. It was one of four on the day for him. He also led the team in hitting going 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Mejia added a pair of hits and three RBI’s. Bragg, Lewis, Blevins, and Tester went 1-for-2 apiece. Smith drove in a run.
“Every kid contributed in the win,” added Jennings. “The kids and our coaches have worked hard trying to prepare them. This was a total team effort. The kids got rewarded for all the hard work they have put in.”
Raden Cutlip had a pair of hits to lead the Majors.
The Longhorns were to play Jonesborough on Monday at 6 pm who defeated Boone 14-2 and Blountville 17-4 in their first two games of the tournament.

Cardinals rally to win Little League softball championship

State Farm Cardinals won the tournament championship 12-11 over the White Sox.
Pictured front row, L-R: Kylah Henley, Sarah Warlock, and Hannah Fletcher. Standing, L-R: Eden Potter, Ashlyn Beam, Shawna Arnold, Chloe Ballard and Lexie Proffitt. Coaches included Chris Baird, Leon Henley, and Jeremy Hagler. Not pictured, Emily Shupe, Ella Icenhour and Allison Trivette. Photos by Tim Chambers

 

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

Little League softball has had a tough times getting in regular season games in 2018 due to the rain, but their tournament was a different story. The best game of the season was played on Thursday before a large gathering of fans at Ralph Stout Park between the Cardinals and White Sox.
The end result was a come-from-behind 12-11 win for the State Farm Cardinals. It was a fitting way to cap off the successful season.
The Cards, who finished in second place during the regular season struggled to take down the lower seeded Sox; fourth in league play. The White Sox barely got by the Diamond Backs 19-18 in the first round and won big over the first place Dodgers on Tuesday who was minus their two best players.
“It’s been a great year for softball,” said Cardinals manager Chris Baird. “We added an extra team and the league we all were pretty balanced. Our kids didn’t quit tonight despite only have eight players. It was an uphill battle, but we played well at the end where it mattered most.”
The Cards had to take an out in the nine spot each time that player would have batted, but they didn’t let it spoil their party.
They scored a pair of runs in the first inning after Chloe Ballard and Lexi Proffitt both singled and crossed the dish.
The White Sox duplicated that feat in their first at-bat. Harley Potter and Zennia Bouchelle both scored after reaching on a base hit and walk.
The Cardinals kept applying the pressure by scoring four more times in the second inning.
Ashlyn Beam and Ballard got things started with base hits apiece. Proffitt plated one with a solid single while Eden Potter brought home two more with a booming double.
The Horns kept applying the pressure in the third inning.
Proffitt and Ballard singled to up their margin at 8-2 but back came the Sox in a fury.
Emma Dugger, Kindal Watson, Bouchelle, Shayden Keith, Emma Savery, Meleah Johnson and Madeline Bendon all reached base and scored putting the Sox on top 9-8.
A two-run double by Bouchelle in the fifth scored Watson, and Harley Potter that upped their advantage at 11-8 but back came the Cardinals for the second time.
Ballard and Kyla Hensley all walked and scored in the fifth to pull them within one at 11-10.
Sarah Warlock and Beam led off the Cards final at-bat with a pair of walks. Singles by Ballard and Kayla Henley would be enough for the Cards to celebrating their 12-11, championship trophy.
Ballard had a monster game for the Cards going 5-for-5, scoring four runs and pitched the win. Proffitt added a 3-for-3 performance, scored four runs and was on base five times. Kayla Henley collected a pair of base hits and scored twice. Potter, Shawna Arnold, Warlock and Beam added one
apiece.
Bouchelle provided two hits and drove in four runs to
lead the White Sox. Harley Potter had the only other hit. The Sox scored six runs after batters had walked and three more on hit batters. Emma Savery provided them a stellar defensive game at third base by making three huge plays that prevented the Cards from scoring two runs.
“The league came a long way from the first of the season,” said White Sox manager Clay Savery. “I think we can be a pretty good feeder program for the junior high if we can keep our numbers up. The girls are working hard to try and get
better. I’m very proud of our team.”

Johnson County crushes Jonesborough 20-8

JC’s Chris Canter slaps a 2-run single in the fourth inning against J-Boro. Canter had 4 hits and scored 4 times in their 20-8 win. Photos by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

GRAY—The dominance continued for Johnson County’s 9-10-year-old All-Star team in their game against Jonesborough. It took three hours and 15 minutes to come away with an impressive 20-8 win on Monday night at the Daniel Boone Little League Park.
They’ll now play on Thursday night at 6 pm in Bristol at the Fairview Little League Field against an opponent that is yet to be determined.
The Longhorns banged out 26 hits with several players having multi-hit games. The key factor was the pitching of Carson Jennings who tossed the final three innings without giving up a run.
“Our kids are really playing good as a team right now,” said manager Charlie Jennings. “I thought we made some good plays defensively and we hit the ball all up and down our batting order. I can’t say enough about these kids and the good job that they have done. It’s huge when you don’t have to take a loss into the District. We won two big games over here, and I couldn’t be any more proud of them.”
Johnson County jumped on top early by scoring two times in the first inning. Kaden Blevins delivered a two-run single scoring Chris Canter and Carson Jennings who had hit safely, but Jonesborough tied the game in the bottom half.
The future Longhorns pushed three runs across in the third to go up 5-2. Isaac Lewis and Jennings got it started with singles. Blevins and Juan Mejia had back-to-back RBI base hits. Ethan Smith drove in the final run with a groundout after Braxton Bragg had singled, but the lead would be short-lived.
Jonesborough responded by sending 10 batters to the plate in the bottom half that produced six runs on four base hits and four errors. It was all Johnson County from that point.
They trailed 8-5 but erased that deficit in a hurry. Johnson County sent 15 batters to the plate in the fourth and scored 10 times in the frame.
Mejia had a bases-loaded triple that put them back in front while Hunter Paisley stroked a two-run single to aid the cause. They also got RBI base hits from Ethan Smith, Eli Tester, Grayson Espinoza, Lewis and Canter that surged them in front to stay at 17-8.
Proving that “father knows best,” manager Jennings brought in his son Carson to pitch the final three innings of the game, and he didn’t disappoint. He struck out five batters and never allowed a run but also got a diving catch from Mejia in centerfield that ended the fourth inning with runners on second and third.
Jennings fanned two batters in the sixth including the final one with two runners on to end the game.
“It’s been different kids stepping up and making plays,” said Jennings about his squad. “Juan made a great catch in center, and Landon Greene made one out there in the right. We played some very good baseball.”
Johnson County’s hit parade list was pretty impressive.
Lewis and Canter led the way with four hits apiece, and each scored four times. Blevins and Mejia added three hits and three RBI’s apiece. Ethan Smith and Tester also contributed three hits and an RBI each. Jennings delivered two base hits in addition to his outstanding pitching performance. Paisley came off the bench to go 2-for-3 with three RBI’s. Bragg and Espinoza each went 1-for-2.
Aiden Cannon went 4-for-4 to lead Jonesborough while Eli Rice added a 3-for-4 performance.

Little League Zone 1 Tourney
Johnson County 20,
Jonesborough 8

Johnson Co. 203 (12) 03 – 20
Jonesborough 206 000 — 8
WP—Jennings

Longhorn pair learning to shuffle

Natalie Winters (12) earned the job as starting point guard on the varsity basketball team as a sophomore last year.
She also had an outstanding year in softball making the Tomahawk’s All Johnson/Carter team.

Abby Cornett (25) earned a lot of playing time as a
sophomore on the hardwood and started in center field
on the softball team. File Photos Tim Chambers

 

 

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

The average student looks forward to their summer break because it means vacation time and relaxation. It also means going swimming, hiking, beach trips, and fishing. You also can take a boat ride or water ski with Watauga Lake being only minutes away.
That’s not always the case when you are a three-sport athlete like rising juniors Natalie Winters and Abby Cornett are. The reason is quite simple.
Both are members of the varsity basketball softball, and volleyball teams and all three sports have different times they work out during the summer months. The players touched on time management.
“It’s hard to fit them all into your schedule because you have so much that is going on during the summer,” said Winters. “We have our set practice times, but you also want to work on your own to try and get better. We go to ball camps, and we have morning practices, but you get better by putting in the extra time. You have to if you want to play and be good at the varsity level. It’s so much different than middle school.”
It’s worth noting that both girls said that volleyball workouts were optional for now, but they go to try and get better. That’s part of being a competitor.
“Every player is always working hard to get a starting position or gain a lot of playing time,” said Cornett. “It’s that way in any sport. You always want to show the coaches that you’re getting better. The only way to do that is to put the time in on your own.”
The girls will close out summer basketball practice today with a trip to Gate City, Virginia. They were in Greeneville on Monday and Tuesday.
“It’s been fun getting back out on the court, but it has also shown us where we need to be at,” said Winters. “We’ve been playing for two years now, so we’re tired of just playing teams close. We want to win.”
Cornett added. “We all enjoy it because basically, all our friends do it. We usually hang out around one another after practices. We still find the time to do a lot of things when we can. You just have to manage your time wisely.”
Both girls agreed that all the coaches were great to work with. The recent hire of Greg Reece as head softball coach at the high school won’t be a problem for the two.
“We all played for Coach Greg in middle school, and he’s not only a coach but a friend too,” said Cornett. “He’s very approachable and easy to talk with. We shouldn’t have a problem adjusting to his style.”
Winters agreed with Cornett assessment on Reece being a good coach plus a friend. She put a beach trip on the shelf to be here for softball tryouts when they roll around.
“We were looking at taking a trip after basketball was over but I want to be here for tryouts,” added Winters. “We have to prove ourselves all over again although he knows what we can do and saw us play some this year. He’s going to carry more players so you don’t take anything for granted because everyone will be expecting to play. That includes the ones who didn’t play this year.”
The good part about all is that practices don’t run together with one another. The required volleyball practices will begin immediately after basketball is completed.
Softball tryouts will begin on June 16. Finding the time to be good at all three won’t be a problem for the duo. Winters recently proved that.
She found the time to play travel softball for a weekend with softball teammates Hannah Brooks and Emmy Miller despite her busy schedule. She and Cornett wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We not just out there to play we’re out there to win,” said Winters. “I believe we can be good at softball and basketball and our volleyball team should be much improved. We want teams to respect us.”
Cornett added. “We can’t use the excuse that we’re young anymore. It’s time we stepped up and started winning. That’s why we work hard over the summer.”

All-Stars and Mother Nature stall LL season

The Diamondbacks and White Sox players and coaches show good sportsmanship after a hard fought 18-16 game won by the Sox. Photo by Tia Thomas.

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

Rain, rain, go away. All we want to do is play.
Many a Johnson County, Little League player, has said this phrase over the past several weeks because Mother Nature has put a damper on their season.
The league decided to put a halt to their regular season and start the tournament Monday. Rain interrupted play on Monday, but they finally got the games in.
The White Sox earned a close victory over the Diamondbacks who they narrowly defeated on Saturday 18-16. This eliminated the D-Backs from the tournament.
The first place Dodgers are scheduled to play on Tuesday along with the second place Cardinals. The championship game is set for Thursday.
The league has made a vast improvement this year, despite all the rain according to veteran coach Gary Evans.
“We’ve added another team, and we have a lot of younger players this year,” said Evans. “That itself has improved the league, and many girls who have never played before are getting better each and every game.”
The league will not participate in All-Stars this year but would like to resume competing in it next season.
Little League All-Stars to play on Saturday
The Johnson County 9-10-year-old All-Star team will begin play on Saturday at Daniel Boone at noon. Their roster is made up of Carson Jennings, Kaden Blevins, Hunter Paisley, Eli Tester, Ethan Smith, Christopher Canter, Isaac Lewis, Juan Mejia, Grayson Espinoza, Landon Greene, Braxton Bragg and Sawyer Marshall.
The team will open up with the Johnson City Majors and will play on Sunday at 2:00 pm if they win and 4:30 pm should they lose.
The regular season had to be cut short due to All-Star playing dates being pushed up. They might play a season-ending tournament after completion of the All-Stars but all that is still in the planning stages.
The coach pitch All-Star tournament will begin to play on June 24 at Cunningham Park. Johnson County will have a team participating in the event.
The 11-12-year-old All-Stars will begin play on July 7 at a site yet to be determined.

Tomahawk’s Dandy Dozen Baseball Team

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

The Three Rivers Conference is one of the top leagues in the state and that definitely held true for baseball. Elizabethton advanced to the final four of the state tournament and defeated Greeneville in the regional championship game who won the state championship.
Johnson County finished near the bottom but was able to pull off a few significant victories.
The Cyclones amassed 28 wins the best finish since 1958 when they lost to Memphis Christian Brothers in the state championship game 4-3 led by former major leaguer and announcer Tim McCarver.
Their dominance that included the District and Regional championships allow them to stockpile our 2018 Tomahawk’s Dandy Dozen All Johnson/Carter County baseball squad plus one.
Trying to select a player of the year was a tossup between teammates Cory Russell and Evan Carter. Both players were tabbed as co-players of the year after putting up impressive numbers against the area’s best competition.
Russell hit for a .390 average that including a team high 50 RBI’s with 10 coming in the postseason. He also scored 43 runs and was 2-1 on the mound. He already drawing rave reviews as one of East Tennessee’s best shortstops.
Carter batted .377 collecting 44 hits while driving in 46 runs and scoring 33. He amassed 12 doubles and was one of the league’s top pitchers. He has already committed to Duke University to play baseball.
Our top pitcher award goes to Elizabethton’s ace Tre Shoun. It would be hard-pressed to find someone who was more dominating against some of the area’s best teams, especially in postseason play. He finished the year going 10-2, which included a 12-0 win over Grundy County during the state tournament combining with two other pitchers for a no-hitter. He hurled 67 innings in 15 starts with an overall 1.35 ERA. He had a 1.05 ERA in his five starts during the postseason.
Joining the trio of Cyclones on the team is slick fielding second baseman Ethan Eagleston, Evan Perkins and outfielder Ryan Wetzel.
Eggleston was the team’s top defensive player and hit .367 on the season. Perkins batted .409 with 47 hits and 11 doubles and was the league’s top catcher. Wetzel also hit .409 and covered lots of territory from his centerfield position.
Unaka didn’t dominate the Watauga Valley Conference like they had in past years, but they did have a couple of the area’s better players.
John Ramsey earns a spot on the team after going 9-3 on the mound that included three no-hitters. He hit .411 that including 10 doubles and had an ERA of 1.00 with 115 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. Blake King who was productive as one of the league’s best hitters and all-around players joins him on the squad. King hit .390 with nine doubles, 2 triples, 3 homers and 40 RBI’s. He was also 5-3 on the mound with two saves.
Hampton’s Dru Owens was named on every ballot along with their lefty ace Dalton Rouse.
Owens hit .400 with 10 doubles and 27 runs scored. He was also 38-for-39 in stolen base attempts. Rouse was 5-3 with three complete games and one shutout. He ended the year with 87 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings with a 2.58 ERA.
Happy Valley’s Nolan Easlic will represent the Warriors along with outfielder Will Hampton. Easlic hit .380 and was 5-4 on the mound. Hampton batted .350 and was a deer on defense with a vacuum glove.
Cloudland’s shortstop Dillon Johnson had a big season for the Highlanders are their lone representative. He, Hampton and Rouse tied for the final slot with all three being selected making it a baker’s dozen.
Johnson County’s Shane Greer and Josh Tierney are the lone two Longhorns that round out the squad.
Greer hit a sizzling .419 and led the team in base hits and RBI’s Tierney batted a hefty .362 and was second in total base hits.
Our most promising newcomer award goes to Hampton’s freshman first baseman Josh Owens. He hit .254 as an everyday starter but had a .450 on-base percentage. He led the team with 21 walks.
Elizabethton’s Ryan Presnell was the unanimous choice for coach of the year honors.
Bud Icenhour, Jayden Joiner, and Petie Pavusek logged spots on the honorable mention squad for the Longhorns.

Tomahawk’s Dandy Dozen All Johnson/Carter Baseball Team

Co-players of the year:
Cory Russell, Evan Carter, Elizabethton

Pitcher of the year:
Tre Shoun, Elizabethton

Newcomer of the year:
Josh Owens, Hampton

Coach of the Year:
Ryan Presnell, Elizabethton

Best of the Rest
Elizabethton:
Ethan Eagleston, Ryan Wetzel, Evan Perkins

Unaka:
John Ramsey, Blake King

Hampton:
Dru Owens, Dalton Rouse

Cloudland:
Dillon Johnson

Johnson County:
Shane Greer, Josh Tierney

Honorable Mention
Elizabethton: Logan Estep, Matthew Dailey
Happy Valley: Eli Fleenor, Hayden Holtsclaw
Unaka: Daniel Ensor, Bryson Street
Hampton: Gavin Hardin. Caleb Oaks
Cloudland: Colin Morgan

Snyder, a true outdoorsman

Dawson Snyder (10) shows his basketball athleticism against Sullivan North. He’s now leaping streams trying to find the best fishing holes.
File Photo time Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

Dawson Snyder was a sharpshooting guard on the basketball court for three seasons but gave it up to pursue his love during his senior year.
Snyder is still an excellent marksman only now it’s in a different kind of sport.
Considered by many to be one of the best young outdoorsmen in the area Snyder specializes in several different regions.
You can find him hunting for deer during the fall and turkey when spring rolls around. Fishing gets the nod when those two are not in season.
“I love it all, but turkey and deer hunting are my favorites,” he said. “I can’t decide a favorite between the two because I love them both. It’s a wonderful feeling being out in the woods and seeing all the nature that surrounds us. I can’t think of anything better than being able to hunt and fish.”
Snyder deer hunts on the land owned by his family and turkey hunts in the same area along with some property owned by a few select neighbors. You can find him hunting deer in season from late September to early January and turkey from the end of March through early May.
“The hunting in these parts is excellent,” said Snyder. “The turkeys mate during the early part of the season and are fun to track down. I love deer season because it’s because of the peacefulness you find out in the open woods. I’ve enjoyed it ever since I was a young boy.”
Snyder takes this time of the year to enjoying fishing, which he does mostly in Johnson County. He said it’s a blessing to have nearly everything within such a short distance from his house.
“We’ve got some of the best places to fish up here right in our back door,” added Snyder. I fish Doe River, Elk River, Doe Creek and the Laurels. You can’t beat any of them if you know where to look at.”
Snyder always had a knack at finding the right spots on the court during his basketball days. He once fired in 30 plus points in back-to-back junior varsity games and ranks up significant numbers when it comes to reeling in the fish. He agreed there is an art to it.
“Every stream has good and bad places to fish. You usually won’t find good fishing if the area is close to the road. It’s an all-day trip to some places where I go. It takes a lot of practices, and it can be very frustrating at times.”
Snyder has done all types of fishing, but fly-fishing is mostly what he does now. He goes looking for rainbow and brown trout. He gave out some good advice for any person that might be interested in learning the art.
“You have to study it and be patient while learning it. It will make you not want to do it when you first start but stay with it. It gets better each time that you go. You’ll learn something new every time.”
Snyder touched briefly on his basketball days and why he left the hardwood.
“I enjoyed playing with my buddies and being around the competition, but I didn’t miss all the time that it took up. I would rather be outside in the woods that anywhere.”
Snyder gave credit to his grandpa Lynn Snyder for getting him into fishing and his uncle Tom for hunting.
“They broadened my love for it, but my dad was the one who took me first. He doesn’t do it much anymore, but they all had a hand in getting me hooked on it. I’m lucky to be in the family that I’m in.”
Snyder will attend Northeast State beginning this fall and will likely pursue a degree in the agriculture field. He was humble when I ask him if he would ever consider doing a television show if the opportunity arose.
“It would be like living a dream, but I don’t have the experience yet. I have a long ways to go to get where those guys on TV are, but I do think that it would be special.”
Nothing could be more special than seeing Snyder on
TV doing his thing right
here in Johnson County, Tennessee. Sometimes dreams do come true.

Tomahawk Talk: Joiner showcasing his talent with T-C Royals

Jayden Joiner is shown on the mound pitching for Johnson County. He has been a starter for the Horns since his freshman season. File Photo Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

It’s a tough task for head coach Pete Pavusek to build a competitive high school baseball team at Johnson County because so many of his players choose not to play during the summer. Participating takes up time, and usually, lots of travel is involved for kids up here to improve their skills.
That’s not stopping Jayden Joiner who is making the most of his summer. He has a desire to play college baseball, so he’s giving all his time to the sport he excels in.
Joiner is a key member of the RBI’s Tri-Cities Royals 16 and under baseball team. The team is made up of Northeast Tennessee’s elite players including some from the state championship Greeneville High School team.
Joiner’s team participated in their first tournament this past weekend, and his and the team’s performance were outstanding.
They won the Perfect Game – Net Elite Baseball Appy Showcase Wood Bat tournament that contained eight teams. Joiner’s squad competed against two teams from Knoxville, two from Kentucky and one from Nashville in addition to a couple of others.
The Royals went 5-1 en route to winning the championship game against the Clarksville, Kentucky Orioles.
Joiner proved he could hang with the big dog bat the plate and especially on the mound.
He batted .333 with an on-base percentage of .474 and was on base nine of the 19 plate appearances he had.
He pitched a complete seven-inning game against the Tennessee Prospects 16-under team out of Knoxville earning a 3-1 victory. He gave up only one earned run, two hits and struck out seven and walked three. He displayed pinpoint control by throwing just 75 pitches.
He later tossed a complete game in the semi-finals against Nashville’s Showtime Baseball 16-and under team defeating them 4-1.
Joiner allowed only one earned run and one hit with five strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches en route to the victory.
The rising junior will definitely be getting some college looks because of playing against some of the state’s top talent.

TSSAA Dead Period just around the corner
High school coaches are trying to get in some last minute instruction time with players before the mandatory “Dead Period” time begins.
This year Dead Period beings on June 23 and runs through July 8. During this two-week period all workouts, practices, and facilities will be shut down to high school athletes. Weight training and conditioning sessions are also prohibited on school grounds. Coaches are to have no contact with the student-athlete.
Football, volleyball, and golf can continue their summer workouts and conditioning programs beginning on July 9.

Tim Chambers is the sports editor for the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com.

Longhorns’ car show to be held Friday

2018 Johnson County High School Baseball team. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

The baseball team will be holding its 12th annual car show on Friday night, June 8th from 6:00 –9:00 pm at the high school. Head coach Pete Pavusek has over 40 awards to give out and urges everyone to come out and support the baseball team and the show. The cost to enter a car, truck or motorcycle is $20.00 and there is no charge to come and view the vehicles.

There will be a large concession stand filled with food and drinks to be sold during the event. It’s a great night to come and hang out with friends and Longhorn fans.
For more information call 423-291-9229.

Tomahawk Talk- Summer basketball and MIP

                                Pavusek

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

It’s close to being football time in Tennessee but its basketball time for the next couple of weeks for high school teams including Johnson County.The Longhorns will try and get in a few weeks work before the dead period rolls around that will put a halt to everything for two weeks.The girls recently returned from a two-day varsity camp at King College where they went 2-2. Head coach Leon Tolley got pretty much what he expected.

“We didn’t have all of them there, and we had only practiced for three days, so we weren’t game ready to play anybody,” said Tolley. “But the girls did well, and they played hard, but we’ve got to get in better shape and be more physical. We need to be more aggressive and pass the ball better. It’s just the usual stuff you expect to see starting out.”

The team will travel to Greeneville beginning Friday for a four-day camp. They’ll wind up camp play next Wednesday at Gate City, Virginia.

“We just go three weeks because they have to have time to be a kid and do other things they need to do,” added Tolley. “The camps show us where they are now and what they need to work on. Last year we were concerned about running a play, but now we’ve just got to play and read the defense. We’ve got to be aggressive and take up for ourselves.”

The boys were in Pigeon Forge on Tuesday ready to begin to play in their first camp for the summer. They recently held their sports banquet where Blake Atwood and Bud Icenhour shared MVP honors. We will have more on their progress in next week’s edition of Tomahawk Talk.

Tomahawk’s first ever MIP
You always see an MVP named representing the most valuable player for the outstanding numbers that they put up during the season. It’s those numbers that often lead to his or her team having a successful year.

Very seldom does a player ever get recognized for elevating his game to another level from one year to the next but that’s about to change.Tomahawk sports put a lot of thought and studied a lot of stats in trying to decide who would be our MIP or most improved player for 2018. We finally came up with our recipient who we felt like helped their team the most.

Sophomore catcher, Petie Pavusek is our first ever MIP. Pavusek began last season as a freshman at only 14 years of age. This year he came back stronger and played well behind the plate for the Horns in addition to supporting a good batting average. Pavusek hit .310 with 17 walks and 15 base hits. He threw out over 40 percent of the runners attempting to steal and proved to be a wall behind the plate with numerous blocks.Pavusek will try and improve his skills even more by playing summer league baseball. He has amassed 34 walks in two seasons as a Longhorn.

Next week we will name our female MIP for 2018. Tim Chambers is the sports editor at the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com.

Blair headed to Tusculum to cheer

Caleigh Blair is shown signing with the Tusculum Pioneers. Front Row: Roger Blair III, Breana Blair, Caleigh Blair and Stacey Blair. Back Row: Coaches Michelle Walters and Casey Southerland. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

One of the most versatile athletes in the 2018 Johnson County High School graduating class has decided to take her talents to Tusculum College next season. Caleigh Blair cast her lot to cheer for the Pioneers next fall. Tusculum is well known for its successful football and basketball programs, which definitely should be to Blair’s liking. She cheered for the Longhorns’ football team that won 11 straight games this past season and for the boy’s basketball team that logged 22 wins. She agreed her senior year was one to remember.

“Getting to cheer at the football and basketball games was very special this year,” said Blair. “Our teams were winning, and the crowds were large and vocal. We had a lot of school spirit, and we all worked hard. It’s always something that I’ll remember.”

Blair was an all-conference performer on the track team in the hurdles and played as the No. 3 seed on the tennis team that made it to the finals in the regional. She explained why she chose cheerleading instead.

“I’ve always enjoyed running track and playing tennis,” she said. “Both are fun, but cheerleading has always been my passion. I used to go down to Tusculum when my sister cheered there and attend games. I loved that and getting to see her in that type of atmosphere. She has always been a role model that I look up to and respect. She is still in school there, so that’s certainly is going to be a plus.”

Blair said she considered going to Northeast State on a Tennessee Promise scholarship and visited ETSU but none of those felt right. She noted that Tusculum had all the things she was looking for and more.

“It’s a good academic school that has a good nursing program. I plan on graduating and getting my masters there in nursing. I want to be a nurse practitioner when I get out.”

Blair said that her coaches Casey Southerland and Michelle Walters had been significant support.

“I had great coaches because they pushed me to be the best. I owe a lot to them because they helped me to improve my skills.”

Blair is the daughter of Roger and Stacey Blair. She marveled when talking about her mother.
“Mom has been my biggest supporter ever,” Caleigh said. “She has always been at my games when I’m cheering or if I’m playing she is there to watch. She has supported me whatever I’ve tried to do.”

Caleigh said she has not worked out her living arrangements as of yet, but she plans on seeing a lot of her sisters. She’s hoping that more family members can drop by.

“I chose Tusculum because it’s close enough to where my parents can attend some of the games, but it’s far enough away where I can be on my own,” she added. “I can always be back in Johnson County should I need anything.”

Caleigh will be cheering in the fall for the Pioneers football team.

JCMS tabs Swift to coach girls’ basketball

                               Swift

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

Johnson County was in need of a middle school basketball coach for its girls’ program, and they didn’t have to look very far to find one. Sarah Swift has accepted the job at her Alma Mater and will be teaching PE at Johnson County Middle School for the upcoming school year. Swift is a graduate of Johnson County High School and Emory & Henry University. She recently completed her master’s degree and is excited about the opportunity that she’s been given.

“I just found out a few weeks ago that I got the job and I’m super excited about the coaching part,” said Swift. “I’m hoping they can find me an assistant coach quick because we have 19 girls currently in our program.”

Swift graduated from Johnson County High School in 2013 where she was an All-Conference performer in volleyball and basketball. She went on to play volleyball at E&H but likes the new role she’s been placed in.

“I feel a whole lot more comfortable around volleyball because I always loved playing it, but I always had a passion for basketball too. I think the high school program is really going to be something in a couple of years and I’m happy for the girls and their coaches. I’m hoping we can be a part of that by producing a good feeder program for coach Tolley and his staff. We want our kids to be ready to step in when they get there.”

The team was set to begin workouts on Tuesday with some select drills that Swift has drawn up for them. She hopes to get with Tolley and his staff very quickly.

“I want to attend some of Coach Tolley’s practices and get to know him and Coach Smith. I already know Coach Eller, so that’s a plus. I want to watch his kids and get to know their style of play and get a good feel for what he does and implement it into our practices. I believe it will be a much easier transition for our kids when they move on to high school if we’re doing some of the same stuff.”

Swift played three seasons under Todd Whittemore who coached at the high school for five seasons before his departure. She played on teams that we’re very competitive during his tenure.

“He taught us a lot about basketball, but he also taught us some valuable life lessons. He always stayed in touch with me and encouraged me to go on and graduate. I feel like he played a huge role in me wanting to coach. I would like to have an impact on my players like that.”

Swift liked what she saw after meeting with the team.

“I told them that this is going to be a learning experience for everyone. I’m happy to be working with this age group because it can be tough at times and it can be rewarding too. The girls that I met with seem to have great attitudes and want to play. It’s going to be a good fit.”

Swift said her expectations will be simple to start out with.

“I want them to play hard and be a team player. I want players who will do what’s best for our team to make it better. It all starts with a good attitude and good effort at practices and during games. Talent and skills are great, but they won’t do you any good if the kids are not willing to work hard to get better.”

Chris Dunbar, who coached the girl’s seventh-grade team last year, will move over to the boys’ side to take on that same role.

Tomahawk Talk: “One to remember”

 

Taylor Cox

JC’s Taylor Cox prepares to hit a shot at the net for the Lady Longhorns. They fell in the state tournament by a close score of 2-6, 6-7 and 6-2. Photo contributed by Jeff Birchfield, Johnson City Press.

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

The perfect terminology to define the 2017-18 year at Johnson County High School would be “one to remember.” It would be hard to look back and find a more complete season that Longhorn teams provided their fans with. It all started on the football field back in August when Johnson County broke a three-year losing streak to Sullivan East and destroyed the Patriots 34-0. That win set the tone for one outstanding year because so many players contributed to the victory. Nathan Arnold threw a pair of long touchdown passes to Shane Greer that covered 60 and 25 yards. Greer caught four passes for 136 yards, and Arnold was 9-13 for 207.
Caden Arnold used his speed to score a touchdown in the game. Gage Hampton added a couple of touchdown runs to spearhead the offense, but their defense was just as impressive.

Haden Osborne had 10 tackles and a pair of sacks. Bud Icenhour contributed a pair of interceptions. Tyler Norris provided eight tackles and a sack while Zack Eller and Josh Herman combined to break up a total of six passes. Jordan Edes-King shined on both sides of the ball with a 38-yard reception in addition to his six tackles, a fumble recovery, and a sack.

It got even better when the Longhorns defeated Hampton 20-8, their first victory over the Bulldogs since 2013. Osborne, Norris, RJ Snyder, and Edes-King combined to register 46 tackles with 13, 12, 11 and 10 respectively. Icenhour finished with 146 all-purpose yards. Will Kerley and Cameron Clawson provided some stellar defensive plays while Nate Shepherd and Tristan Dishman anchored the offensive line that played one of its better games of the year.

The football gods were looking out for the Horns the following week after they slipped past Chuckey-Doak 14-13. It was the second consecutive road victory. A blowout win over Unaka and a hard-fought 28-21 comeback victory at West Greene caught the eye of the state sportswriters. They were ranked No. 3 in the Class 3-A poll and stayed there the entire season.

Fans will always remember the 98-yard fumble recovery-touchdown run by Norris at Happy Valley that allowed them to walk away with a 14-7 victory over the No. 8 ranked Warriors in 2-A. The Longhorns stayed unbeaten with wins over Claiborne County, North Greene, and Cloudland. They got revenge against Unicoi County 28-14 on Senior Night to cap off their perfect 10-0 regular season.

Their 21-20 win over Northview Academy will never be forgotten and neither will Osborne’s block of the extra point with 1:20 remaining in the game that preserved the victory. Their 11-0 record came to a halt the following week in the second round of the playoffs to Austin East 30-21.

Some key players from the football team would play a vital role on the basketball team that finished with 22 victories. Bud Icenhour, Nathan Arnold, Edes-King, and Eller would find themselves in starting roles on the hardwood along with All-State candidate for 2018-19 Blake Atwood. Included in the win total were a couple of big ones over Elizabethton. A young girl’s team that was made up mainly of sophomores and freshmen earned a road win over Elizabethton and defeated Hampton under the tillage of veteran head coach Leon Tolley but his first on the Longhorns’ bench.

The boys topped the Bulldogs twice for the first time in several years and hosted a home game in the regional, which they lost in the final seconds. Not to be outdone was the tennis team who had a banner year under first-year head coach Zack Pittman. Taylor and Olivia Cox won the regional doubles title and played in the state tournament for the first time ever. Noah Cox and Will Henson reached the finals of the regional before losing a close match. The girl’s team made the regionals and came within one set of going to the state tournament.

Several players will continue their careers at the college level. Nathan Arnold, Jordan Edes-King, and Tristan Dishman have signed to play football, Bud Icenhour will continue in basketball while Cayleigh Blair is set to cheer at Tusculum University. Will Kerley’s calling into the ministry is definitely one of the year’s greatest memories.

Condolences to Nate Shepherd’s family
It breaks my heart to end this column with a somber moment. I was first elated to find out that football standout Nate Shepherd had received a scholarship to ETSU that will provide him four thousand dollars per year over the next four years as reported by his mother, Marsha Shepherd on her Facebook page. Ms. Shepherd was a true Longhorns’ fan and had complimented me before after an article I had one on Nate. She was killed in an automobile accident on Monday near Little Stoney around the lake just days after Nate’s graduation. I want to extend my condolences and prayers to all of Nate’s family in this time of sorrow. Always cling to those special times you all enjoyed over the years. I’m asking that the Johnson County community embrace Nate and his family, not just now but in the days ahead.

Longhorns hold HS baseball banquet

 

Baseball Banquet

The Johnson County High School baseball team was treated with a nice meal before the
presentation of trophies at the baseball banquet. Photo by Tim Chambers.

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

 

Coach Pete Pavusek held his annual baseball banquet on Thursday night inside the school’s cafeteria with lots of food, drink, cake and ice cream being served.

A good turnout of players was on hand in addition to parents as numerous awards were handed out.

Two seniors who were present and honored were Josh Tierney and Jonathan Arnold. Shane Greer was recognized for making the All-Conference team. Bud Icenhour, Jayden Joiner, and Petie Pavusek also received recognition for making the honorable mention team. Timothy Grindstaff was recognized for his work of keeping the book.

The baseball team voted on the best teammate awards and those selected were Josh Tierney, Ben Howard, and Petie Pavusek. Joiner was honored as the pitcher of the year and the gold glove, and 110 percent award went to Jonathan Arnold.  Tameula Trivett was given  an award for her dedication  to the baseball team. The team was shown a video before the banquet that was complete with pictures and music honoring the 2018 baseball season.

Coach Pavusek thanked our Tomahawk sports department and recognized this scribe with a plaque.

White Sox starve off Dodgers 10-8

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

One big inning led to a huge victory for the White Sox on Thursday night at Cunningham Park. The Sox scored five times in the second inning then held off a late Dodgers rally for a 10-8 victory in major league play. The Dodgers got on the board first by scoring twice in their first at-bat. Nate King blasted a triple scoring Landon Greene who had walked. He later crossed the plate on a wild pitch for a 2-0 advantage. The Sox got one run back in the bottom half after Hunter Paisley walked then scored on a wild pitch.

The Sox exploded for five runs in the second inning to surge out in front 6-2. Grayson Espinoza, Silas Avent, Isaac Lewis and Paisley all walked and scored. Juan Mejia crushed a three-run triple to highlight the inning along with a run-scoring double from Jackson Clifton. The Dodgers craved into the deficit in the third on a two-run double by Ezra Howard to pull them closer at 6-4. Eli Horne, Grayson Holt, and Landon Greene would all score to get them closer at 6-5.

Walks continued to plague the Dodgers as the White Sox collected 16 free passes that led to the majority of their runs. Darren Chappel, Christopher Canter, and Espinoza would cross the plate in the fifth inning that gave the Sox a commanding 10-5 advantage. That’s when the Dodgers almost mounted a remarkable comeback.
Nate King got things started with a single then scored on a towering triple off the bat of Howard. Ethan Smith got in on the act by scoring Howard with a line drive double, but the Sox would retire the next three batters which allowed them to escape with the victory.Clifton and Mejia had the only hits in the game for the Sox.

Howard led the Dodgers going 2-2 with a double, triple and two RBI’s. King went 2-3 with a triple and two RBI’s. Smith had the only other hit. Nate Dorman picked up the win for the White Sox with relief help from Isaac Lewis who recorded the save. The Dodgers managed to throw three pitchers in the game.

Dodgers 203 003 – 8 5
White Sox 150 22x – 10 2
WP—Dorman
Save—Lewis

Cox twins finish season with Class A State quarterfinal tourney

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

MURFREESBORO—It wasn’t the outcome they were hoping for, but two sisters put Johnson County on the map with their all-out play in the Class A tennis state tournament on Thursday. The Longhorns’ duo of Taylor and Olivia Cox fell Summertown’s Alexis Perry and Maggie Long 2-6, 7-6 (3) and 6-2 at the Adams Complex in Murfreesboro. It was quite a showing by the twins who dominated play in the early going.

“We had confidence that we would come out and win the next game too, said Taylor after they had taken the first set. “I wasn’t nervous at all. I didn’t look at this match any different than I did another other. My goal was to win and try to reach the championship.”

The twins found themselves in a battle during the second match. They trailed early but fought back to tie the score at 5-5 then 6-6 after Summertown had gone up by one. They ended up losing by a slim 6-7 (3) score.

“I wish we had been a little more aggressive at the net,” said Olivia about their play. “They were much better than the teams we had played during the season. I felt like we played one of our better matches against them. It was a little more nerve-racking than our normal matches, but we just went out and played our game. We had a chance to win it.”

The contest went to the third and decisive set where the Cox girls were upended 6-2. Their father and assistant coach Craig Cox thought his girls elevated their play against a very good team from Summertown.

“Olivia and Taylor really raised their game, but the other team made some adjustments in the second set and shook off some nervousness,” said Coach Cox. “Our girls actually played better down here than they did in the District and Regional. They came out against a good team and dominated play in the first match. We just didn’t win the key points in the tiebreaker than we needed to. That is sometimes that we’ll work on over the summer.”

Taylor touched on what it meant to make the elite eight.“It was an honor to come down here and represent Johnson County High School,” said Taylor. “We want to thank everyone from our community and all the businesses that recognized us.”

Both girls took the time to thank their head coach Zack Pittman, their dad, and Coach Tim Tugman. “We had a very good staff this year, added Olivia. “We worked hard, and it showed on the court. Our coaches had a lot to do with that.”

Taylor added. “Our goal is to win the state next year. We got a taste this year, and we now know what to expect. Our family from West Tennessee drove up to watch us and so did some others. We’ll work hard and do whatever it takes to get back down here again. We won’t be satisfied until we win it.”

Tomahawk Talk: Unwarranted pressure killing youth sports

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor
TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.com

Attempts to persuade or the use of intimidation can often be associated with the word ‘pressure.’
Many of today’s athletes are experiencing it at a young age. It starts when they are in youth sports and continues through middle and high school athletics.
Unfortunately, a great deal of today’s pressure comes from parents. Many of the ones doing it don’t care or don’t want to admit it.
And it’s not just aimed at their child. A target is placed on the coach’s back or anyone else who they feel like has wronged them.
Parents flood social media with their videos, statistics or anything else that they think will bring attention to their child for the wrong reasons.
Team accomplishments, friendships built and other things that should matter most are often lost in the shuffle as the pressures get worse.
Some parents take to telling the coach who they should play and who they shouldn’t, and we sportswriters are not exempt either.
We are often told who we should write about and whose pictures we should put in the paper. These statements are not fabricated either.
Let’s look at the whole picture.
Every child is an exceptional athlete in their parent’s eyes, but not all of them can be the team’s best player. Some can’t be a starter nor fill the stat charts and it might be an accomplishment for a few to just make the team but each one is important.
They can play a vital role in their team’s success but don’t try and relay this to the parents in the stands, and here’s why.
Some already know how to make out the lineup card and who should be playing where along with knowing which kids did what and they stress to their child that individual stats are much more important than team accomplishments.
They try to sway the coach on their decision making, and some will go to any extreme to make sure that their child is compensated even if it means seeing that he or she is dismissed.
A parent’s evaluation of their child’s ability might differ from what the coach sees in games or practices. It does not affect how he or she feels about your child.
They should play the best players who excel in games and at practices but that don’t mean your child is not essential to the team.
When does one step back and be realistic about their child’s true athletic abilities and potential to become better? Or do we move forward and step on anyone who might have a different opinion than their own.
It’s time parents step back and let the coaches do their jobs. They’re not perfect, and sometimes they make mistakes just like you.
Stress to your child the benefits of being in a team setting, the importance of attending practice, working hard to get better and putting the team before self.
Administrators are urged to rid off unwarranted complaints. Don’t let parents dictate who coaches their child and who don’t.
Sometimes a change is warranted, and other times it can be corrected.
Unfortunately, many of today’s young athletes are caught up in trying to please their parents and make them proud. They feel intimidated.
It’s called “pressure.”
Tim Chambers is the sports editor at the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com.

Three Longhorns tabbed on All-Conference Squad

Shane Greer

Hannah Brooks

Courtney Brooks

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

TomahawkSportsEditor@gmail.comThree Longhorns were selected on the All-Conference teams while five others earned honorable mention honors.
Shane Greer was the only Longhorn to make the baseball’s squad. Bud Icenhour, Jayden Joiner, and Petie Pavusek were tabbed as an honorable mention.
Hannah Brooks and Courtney Brooks were selected to the softball squad. Natalie Winters and Emmy Miller gathered honorable mention honors.

 

Angels remain unbeaten in Little League

Pictured is the Johnson County Bank Angels who currently lead the league with a 5-0 mark. Team members include Gavin Conder, Sam Cretsinger, Chris Reece, Tyler Bouchelle, Ethan Reece, Conner Simcox, Eli Dickens, Tanner Bulliner, George Grill, Hayden Parker and Graham Reece. Coaches are Dirk Simcox, George Grill, and Daniel Dickens. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

A classic movie once told us that “Angels” were in the outfield but you can find them somewhere else at the Johnson County Little League Field. The Johnson County Bank Angels are currently in first place in the Majors division and are undefeated at 5-0.
They won their first four games by way of the run rule then knocked off the previously undefeated Diamondbacks by five last week.
Manager Dirk Simcox likes the make-up of his squad that has a variety of several experienced players. He feels like pitching and hitting has been the key so far to their success.
“We’ve had several of these kids together for past three years, so there is good chemistry among them,” said Simcox. “They love to be out on the field, and they all love to play. We have five or six kids that can pitch, and we’ve got a few younger players who are improving as well. We’ve been able to score a lot of runs, and our returning players have hit the ball well.”
The pitching staff of Graham Reece, Conner Simcox, Chris Reece, Ethan Reece and Eli Dickens have all stepped up and performed well so far. Graham was the starting centerfielder for the middle school team while Simcox and Chris Reece were two of the All-Stars top pitchers last year.
The league adopted a new pitching rule that states a team must start and end the game with a nine or 10-year old pitcher in games played on Thursday. Simcox is not a fan of the rule.
“I can’t see making it a rule because you should be working with the younger kids so they can learn,” said Simcox. “We ask our players where they want to play at before the season starts and give them all a try. Some can do and some can’t. You don’t ever want to put a kid on the mound in harm’s way. Some of the older kids hit the ball hard.”
Team success can always be found when good pitching is complimented with good hitting. The Angels have been the beneficiary of both.
Graham Reece, Simcox, Ethan Reece, Eli Dickens and George Grill have been knocking the cover off the ball. He also likes what he has seen in newcomer Tyler Bouchelle.
“I drafted Tyler, and he’s played outstanding,” said Simcox. “His sister plays for my wife’s softball team, and she is an outstanding athlete too.”
The head skipper was quick to compliment all the players on his team.
“Some teams usually have three or four kids that are strong, and the rest are average, but we’ve got quality players across the board. Some need to learn a few things, but all of them are solid kids.”
The younger players of Sam Cretsinger, Hayden Parker, Gavin Conder plus 12-year old newcomer Tanner Bullinar have helped elevate the Angles as the league’s top squad.
Parker started the game on the mound in the big win over the Diamondbacks, and Cretsinger closed it out.
“I thought both of them did a good job on the mound,” said Simcox. We pitched one our good pitchers in between them, but I pleased with their effort.”
George Grill and Daniel Dickens assist Simcox.
“Both of them have done a great job assisting and so has Brad Reece,” added Simcox. “Brad is not an official coach this year, but he definitely is a big part of it.”
Simcox likes the fact that the league has six teams.
“I’ve been in this since 2006 when I started with my oldest son’s T-Ball team, and this is the most teams that I can remember us having. The league is well balanced. The Diamondback is young, but they have an excellent team, and the Dodgers have some good players. The other teams are all bunched in there together. It definitely is a good league this year.”