Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission sets 2017-18 hunting seasons

TFWC SETS 2017-18 HUNTING SEASONS AT MAY MEETING

DAYTON, Tenn. — The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission established the state’s 2017-18 hunting and trapping seasons at its May meeting which concluded Wednesday on the campus of Bryan College.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency staff had recommended few changes to the 2017-18 regulations during its season’s preview held at the April meeting.

The TFWC voted to increase the total number of elk hunt permits from 11 to 15 and increase the three hunt segments to seven days each. This will include seven archery permits, seven for gun (which includes the auctioned permit), and one youth permit.

The archery only elk hunt was increased from five to seven days and will be held beginning the last Saturday of September. The dates are Sept. 30 through Oct. 6.

The gun season hunt, with its increase of two days from previous years, will be held Oct. 14-20, 2017. Similar to last year, all hunt permits are valid on the North Cumberland WMA and can also be used on private lands (with landowner permission) within the Elk Restoration Zone in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan and Scott counties.

The Young Sportsman hunt was previously a two-day weekend hunt and increases to seven days. It begins Oct. 7 and continues through Oct. 13.

No changes were made to the deer and turkey hunting seasons, limits and regulations though there was considerable discussion on the definition of antlered deer and turkey daily bag limits.

There were also no changes to the bear hunting dates but standardized bear seasons language was adopted. There were no changes to the furbearer proclamation other than removing some antiquated language in the proclamation regarding fox hunting.

Some slight changes were made requiring hunters to check in their big game animals prior to gifting an animal to another person and prior to a big game animal leaving Tennessee.

Due to removal of some language in a state law, the commission will now have more authority in determining the type, placement and inspection of traps utilized in furbearer trapping. All traps approved implement accepted Best Management Practices.

Various minor changes to several WMAs were made across the state. They will be posted soon on TWRA’s website.

The commission also discussed a few fishing topics. Upper Chilhowee Reservoir has been closed to fishing during a dam maintenance project for about two years. The TFWC voted to amend the current sport fish proclamation opening Chilhowee Reservoir to fishing upon notification from Brookfield Renewable, which is the company that operates the dam. The TWRA will make a formal announcement on the date in the coming months.

The commission passed a rule in regard to commercial fishing and wholesale fish dealers. This rule addresses commercial fishing licenses, permits, and reporting requirements.  Passage of this rule will not change these licenses or requirements as currently found in the proclamation. This rule also creates a new process to sell available resident commercial roe fish permits. When available, TWRA will announce a live drawing for eligible commercial fishers.

In another housekeeping item, the commission passed a rule in regard to commercial musseling. This rule addresses commercial mussel licenses, mussel fees, and importation and exportation procedures. Passage of this rule will not change licenses, fees or procedures as currently found in proclamation.

Former commissioner David Watson was recognized at the meeting. The Lookout Mountain resident had been elected as the TFWC vice chairman in February, but resigned from the commission due to health reasons.

Members of the Birchwood Area Society Improvement Council were recognized for their assistance. The TWRA and the council have worked together the past 26 years to host the annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.

TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Cpt. Matt Majors gave a report on the TWRA Honor Guard. The Honor Guard, formed in 2013, provides 3-tiered service to the fallen, ceremonial services, and assistance/support to other conservation law agencies. The TWRA Honor Guard recently participated in the National Police Week in Washington, D.C., which thousands of officers from around the world participate.

Brandt Information Services representatives presented details for a digital marketing proposal. Brandt became the agency’s new license vendor last Oct. 31. Sportsmen now have the opportunity to purchase a new collectible hard card with revenue being used to invest in the marketing program.

Jennifer Wisniewski, the Georgia Department of marketing and communications director, gave a presentation on her Email marketing experience in her state. She explained the benefits, which includes the license sales increases that Georgia has enjoyed.

Tim’s Tomahawk Talk – 2017-18 will be a much better year

By Tim Chambers

No song could have said it better than a classic hit by the Beatles. The 2016-17 sports campaign was a “Hard Day’s Night” for the Johnson County Longhorns.
At times it appeared the teams were “working like a dog” but often our play reflected “we were sleeping like a log.” It definitely was a “long and winding road” that will certainly get better during the 2017-18 campaign.
Football will be the sport that should get things off on the right foot. The Longhorns open the season at home against Sullivan East who lost nearly its entire squad from last season.
The following week they will travel to Hampton which is always a tough encounter. A road game at Happy Valley on October 6 looms big.
No longer will the Longhorns play the likes of Elizabethton, Sullivan South and Tennessee High like in years past.

Conference games against Chuckey-Doak, West Greene, Claiborne, Unicoi County and North Greene all appear winnable. The Horns will play Sullivan Central at home along with East and Cloudland in non-conference games.
The Longhorns return a number of playmakers on offense including quarterback Nathan Arnold, wide receiver Shane Greer and runbacks Gage Hampton and Bud Icenhour.
Hayden Osborne and Jordan Edes will spearhead the defense which showed some stellar play in their spring scrimmage game against Sullivan South.
Some Rebel fans that watched the scrimmage complimented the Longhorns for their play. One observer stated, “I can see them winning a lot of games if they play like that next year.”
Longhorn fans are hoping he’s correct.
Fall will tell the tale.

Basketball getting geared up
The girls kicked off practice at Roan Creek Elementary School on Monday with a new head coach at the helm. Leon Tolley will guide the Lady Longhorns after seven years as head at Hampton.
He starred on the hardwood for the Bulldogs and led them to the state tournament as a player and coach.
He was named MVP of the state tournament in 1983, the only time a player for the state runner-up team has ever received that honor.
His teams compiled an overall record of 156-81 while at Hampton. The Lady Bulldogs reached the state tournament in 2009 and 2013 with the ‘09 squad making the semi-finals.
His teams won three conference titles, two Districts and one Regional crown and twice they made the sub-state.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the Lady Longhorns basketball team.
But expect to see a team that plays hard, is organized and fun to watch.
That should set the tone for the boys who should support one of the best teams in Northeast Tennessee.
The Longhorns return all five starters in Bud Icenhour, Nathan Arnold, Blake Atwood, Jordan Edes and Sean Lewis in addition to key reserve Zack Eller.

Softball gained some  valuable experience
Fans shouldn’t gage first year head coach Angela Blevins’ debut on her won-loss record in 2017. Nobody had a younger squad on the field than the one displayed by the Horns.
Late in the season the Longhorns were starting four freshmen and two sophomores. They also knocked off state tournament bound Elizabethton 6-5 and nearly pulled off a second upset before losing 1-0.
Baseball defeated the Cyclones for their biggest win in 2017 and they also knocked off Unicoi County.
The tennis team will feature Taylor and Olivia Cox over the next three years which should be fun to watch.
My crystal ball tells me that 2017-18 will be a much better year for Longhorn fans.
A much better year than two wins over the Cyclones.
Tim Chambers is the sports editor at the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

JCHS Longhorn quartet earns All-Conference honors in baseball and softball

By Tim Chambers

It was an up and down year for the baseball and softball teams but a quartet of players was named to the All Conference squads. Both squads had a pair of players named to the first team.
Nick Whitener and Shane Greer were tabbed on the baseball side while Courtney Brooks and Lindsey Wills gathered honors on the softball side.
Whitener led the Longhorns in batting with a .409 average and RBI’s with 15. He had 27 hits in 66 times at bat.
Greer had the second highest average, hitting .338. He was 24-71 and drove in 14 runs.
Brooks had the second highest average for the Lady Longhorns, batting .306. She had a .960 fielding average which was the team high.
Wills hit .298. the third highest average on the team with five RBI’s and nine runs scored.
Hannah Brooks and Marley Eggers were named honorable mention. Brooks led the team in hitting with a .318 average. She also led the team in home runs (7), and RBI’s (18).
Eggers batted .290 with 20 hits and eight RBI’s.
Daniel Livorsi and Jayden Joiner were selected honorable mention in baseball. Livorsi batted .271 in his senior campaign.
Joiner hit .293 and pitched four of the team’s five victories. He was 4-3 and led the team in innings pitched with 34.
Whitener, the lone senior will perform on the diamond for Milligan College next spring. Greer will be back for his senior campaign.
Courtney Brooks will return for her senior year as will Wills who will be a junior. Hannah Brooks is expected to have a stellar sophomore campaign.

Diamondbacks defeat Angels 10-5 in Minor League action

Sawyer Marshall rips a leadoff triple for the Angels.

By Tim Chambers

The minor league game of the week was a classic with the final inning being the deciding factor. The D-Backs scored four runs in the sixth to edge the Angels 10-5 on a muggy Saturday afternoon at Cunningham Park.
The game was close the entire way with the Angels holding the upper hand early.
The Diamondbacks scored twice in the first inning to go up 2-0.
Kyle Maple blasted an inside-the-park home run, scoring Carter Atwood who had singled, but the Angels fought back to tie the game in the bottom half.
Sawyer Marshall ripped a triple to get things started and scored on a base hit by Avery Blevins. Gavin Conder, Nate Southerland and Conner Stout delivered hits that helped the Angels pull even after Blevins raced home.
The Angels scored three times in the second inning to go up 5-2 after holding the D-backs scoreless in the top half.
Dade Eggers, Marshall and Blevins all belted base hits and scored. Conder and Southerland had RBI base hits.
The D-backs stormed back to tie the game in the third.
Abby Dickens, Atwood and Ella Icenour would all deliver base hits and score. Maple, Grayson Day and Dillon Reece all had run-scoring singles that helped the cause.
The D-backs took the lead for good in the fourth inning. Karter Cox singled as did Lexi Mullins and Dickens. Cox raced home to put his team in front at 6-5.
The D-backs scored four times in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Atwood singled, then scored on Maple’s triple. Day and Reece each had a double and scored to put them up 10-5.
The Angels hit a couple of balls hard in the bottom half but two great defensive plays by Atwood prevented them from getting runners on base.
Maple had a big day going 3-3 with a home run and triple. Atwood was 3-3 and scored three times. Day was 3-3 with a pair of doubles. Reece, Cox and Dickens added two hits apiece.
Marshall and Blevins led the Angels with a pair of hits each and two runs scored. Conder, Southerland and Dade Eggers added two hits apiece. Ethan Robinson and Conner Stout chipped in with base hits.
The Angels got a couple of defensive web gems from Marshall at second and one from Blevins at third. Stout also recorded three outs from his pitcher’s position .

Marlins squeak by Angels 7-5 to remain in first place in Little League major division play

Marlins pitcher Zack Parsons strikes out one of the 15 Angels he faced.

By Tim Chambers

Something had to give when the undefeated Marlins (4-0) battled the undefeated Angels (3-0) on Saturday at Cunningham Park. Fans were treated to a “fantastic” game before the outcome was decided.
The “Fish” rode the pitching and hitting of Zack Parsons en route to their narrow 7-5 victory over the Halos to keep a tight grip on first place in the Little League major division play.
The Marlins, managed by long-time veteran skipper Gary Woodard, played nearly mistake free baseball the whole way. The same could be said for the Angels who were guided by their legendary manager, Brad Reece.
“It’s always a lot of fun when we play each other,” said Woodard. “Brad does a great job with his team and our games are usually close. This was a big game for us and all our kids played well. Zack Parsons had a big game and so did Tanner Putman. We needed that to pull out the win.”
Pitching dominated the first inning for both teams.
Parsons fanned three batters after issuing a walk. Connor Simcox was just as impressive, striking out two of the batters that he faced.
Both teams got on the board in the second inning with the Marlins taking a 3-1 advantage.
Parsons struck out four batters in the frame, but a wild pitch on a third strike allowed Ethan Reece to reach. He would later come around to score on a passed ball.
The Marlins used their bats to produce three runs in the bottom half.
Parsons, Tanner Putman and Jordan Jaynes all delivered singles, yet control problems would aid in their scoring.
Conner Gentry, Hank Sauer and Dominic Kelly all drew walks and Kainon Haun was hit by a pitch. The Angels escaped further damage after Simcox whiffed his fourth batter in the game, but the Fish led 3-1.
The Marlins used the long ball to go up 5-1 in the following inning.
Parsons blasted a towering home run over the left field fence, scoring Connor Stout who had walked. But the Angels fought back and made it a game after scoring four times in the fourth.
Parsons would amass 14 strikeouts over the first four innings, but three bases on balls would result in runs for the Angels. Simcox, Eli Dickins and Ethan Reece all scored after drawing free passes to get the Angels within one at 5-4.
The Marlins got one back when Sauer walked and scored in the bottom half to take a 6-4 advantage.
Parsons was throwing fiery darts over five innings. His only allowed hit was a solid single off the bat of Graham Reece in the third.
The Marlins got an insurance run in the fifth when Putman singled-in Parsons who had walked.
The Angels had their chances in the sixth after Parsons was relieved due to reaching the 85-pitch limit count.
Connor Simcox singled and later scored to make it 7-5. The game ended when Parsons shagged a ball at first for the Fish and turned it into an unassisted double play to end the game.
Parsons allowed only one hit and struck out 15 to earn the win. He led his team in hitting, going 2-2 with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Putman enjoyed a big day for the Marlins, going 3-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Jaynes had the other Marlins’ base hit.
Reece and Simcox had the only two hits for the Angels. Reece also provided some strong defensive play by throwing out a pair of runners from his catching position.
——-
Angels        010  301 — 5 2
Marlins      031  11x — 7 6
WP—Parsons
HR—Parsons

Longhorns outlast Highlanders 22-18 to become middle school tourney champs

JCMS’ Emmy Miller legs out an inside the park home run.

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County’s championship softball game against Cloudland featured more hits than a Garth Brooks and George Strait CD combined on Tuesday night at Bob Kirksey Field. And for the second straight year it was the Johnson County Middle School Lady Longhorns doing the victory “dance” when the final out was recorded.
They outlasted the Lady Highlanders 22-18 to claim the Little Watauga Conference Tournament Championship in a game that lasted over three hours. But nobody was in a hurry to leave the park when it was all over.
JCMS’ head coach Greg Reece appeared drained after the final out was recorded. He watched his team jump on top 10-1 only to see Cloudland come back and go in front 14-13.
“I really don’t know what to say about the game, except that this group of players never quit playing,” said Reece. “We knew it would be a battle, even when we had the big lead. We knew Cloudland would not quit. They are too good and too well coached to quit.”
The Longhorns wasted no time getting on the board, scoring twice in the opening frame.
Emmy Miller slapped a triple that scored Maddi Edington who had singled. The speedy Miller raced home on a heads-up play after Cloudland let the ball skip free in the infield.
The Highlanders got an RBI double from Kaylen Fields to plate their first run, but they couldn’t cool off the red hot Horns.
They batted around in the second inning that led to five more runs.
It all started with a pair of walks and a hit batter that loaded the bases. Cassidy Lakatos earned an RBI with the third walk in the inning. Jayla Gregg did the most damage with a towering triple that cleared the bases, giving JCMS a 6-1 advantage.
Cloudland finally escaped the inning, but not before Sydni Potter’s run scoring base hit that made it 7-1.
The Longhorns nearly blew the game open by scoring four runs in the third inning to go 11-1.
A perfect bunt by Paige Knight came after Faith Walsh had led off with a walk. Miller continued her stellar play by roping a two-run double to make it 9-2. Lakatos and Gregg followed with back-to-back RBI triples that upped the ante at 11-2. Yet the Highlanders fought back to stay in the hunt.
They tallied three runs in the bottom half to make it 11-4 and followed that up with a six-run fourth to close the deficit at 11-10.
Krista Bare’s three-run double provided the damage in the third inning. Some Longhorn miscues along with two walks and an error opened up the floodgates for their six-run fourth.
Gregg slammed her second triple of the game in the fifth to plate another run. She later came home on a wild pitch that extended the lead back at 13-10.
The Highlanders showed their savvy by scoring four times in the bottom half to take their first lead of the game at 14-13.
Reece said his team stuck to the script even after they lost their big lead and got down by one.
“We had a game plan and a good idea of what we had to do to win this thing,” added Reece.  “We knew we had to set the tone early and that we had to make Cloudland defend the entire field. We made a promise to our players and coaches that no coaching staff in this conference or system would work harder than we would to put them in position to win.  We did this before the season began. We went through every scorebook, watched film and came up with what we believed gave us the best chance to win.  We were pretty close for the most part, but there will always be surprises. Our girls believed in the plan, and more importantly they believed in each other. The bench kept it going all night. The girls were supportive of each other. It is really hard to complain when your team can pull together like this. This was definitely a team win.”
Credit Reece and his coaching staff for staying in the game after Cloudland’s remarkable comeback.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Longhorns to conduct basketball camp next week

The Longhorns’ basketball camp had over 80 participants in 2016.

By Tim Chambers

Head coach Austin Atwood and his 2017-18 Johnson County Longhorns will hold their annual basketball camp beginning Monday, May 22 through May 25.
The camp will start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 11:30 am daily.
The camp is for boys and girls (1st grade through 8th grade) with a variety of activities to take place. This year the camp will have access to the outside goals that can be lowered down to three feet. This is a great tool for smaller players to use in order to learn the proper shooting technique.
The price is $50 per player, two siblings for $80 and $100 for three siblings. Each camper will receive a camp tee shirt plus hear a motivational guest speaker.
Concessions such as pizza, candy and drinks will be available.
Atwood touched on the importance of the camp.
“We teach fundamentals and stress team play to every camper who participates and we make sure they understand it,” said Atwood. “We pair them up in team activities plus we try to make it fun and competitive.”
Atwood said his goal is to see the kids improve and enjoy themselves.
“We’ll work with them one-on-one hoping to make them a better player for the upcoming year,” said Atwood. “Most of all we want it to be fun.”
The camp had 80-plus kids last year and would love to reach its target goal of 100.
For more information contact Coach Atwood at (423) 742-2870.

JCMS Longhorns get revenge on Unaka Lady Rangers 17-12

JCMS’ Haley Rider was the winning pitcher versus Unaka

By Tim Chambers

A hissing cobra couldn’t have struck faster than Johnson County did against Unaka on Friday. The Longhorns scored five times in the fourth and seventh innings to knock off top seeded Unaka 17-12 to reach the championship game of their conference tournament.
Johnson County unleashed a 21-hit avalanche against the Rangers and needed them all. Half of Unaka’s 12 runs were unearned due to the eight errors they committed.
But that didn’t tarnish the win for JCMS’ head coach Greg Reece who has played with a smorgasbord of seventh graders mixed in with a few eighth graders in his lineup.
“Our girls were excited about playing Unaka,” said Reece. “We didn’t play well the last time we faced them and that left a bitter taste in our mouth. The girls were focused on doing what we had to do, which was score runs in bunches to put the pressure on them.  We wanted to force their infield back on their heels and we did that in our first two at-bats. I felt like that set the tone for the game.”
The Horns scored twice in the first inning after Maddi Edington led off with a single. Emmy Miller’s triple and a sacrifice fly by Cassidy Lakatos gave JCHS a 2-0 early lead.
Two costly errors allowed Unaka to tie the game in the bottom half but the Horns kept pecking away.
Sydni Potter singled to start the second and scored on Paige Knight’s sacrifice fly. Edington later smacked a two-out three-bagger and came home on Miller’s single to put them on top 4-2 but that lead was short lived.
The Rangers rallied for three in the bottom half to take a 5-4 advantage. Sadie Shoun and Kiki Forney had base hits for the Rangers and Kayley Wilson provided a single sandwiched in between two more Longhorn errors.
Yet the Horns never quit despite their defensive woes.
They scored five times in the fourth to go up 9-5. They continued to pad their cushion scoring three more times over the next two frames to up their ante at 12-5.
At that point the fireworks begin.
Unaka sent 12 batters to the plate in the sixth inning and scored seven times to tie the game at 12-12.
Shoun, Hannah Scott, Noelle Collins, Abbie Ruel and Kendall Bare all had RBI base hits, but back came the Horns.
They would answer five times with two outs in the seventh to go up 17-12.
Jayla Gregg had a two-run single that later proved to be the game winner. Haley Cox had an RBI single and Deanna Younce delivered a run-scoring double that enabled them to take a 17-12 advantage.
Haley Rider retired the side in order in the bottom half sending Johnson County into the championship game on Tuesday against Cloudland.
Reece could finally breathe a sigh of relief when Rider fielded a ground ball out to end the game in the seventh.
“Our girls came up with some clutch hits in that final inning and we ran the bases well,” said Reece. “We played smart and aggressive in the late innings. I am super proud of them.”
Unaka got the leadoff batter on to start the seventh but she was thrown out by Miller trying to steal second.
“That was a huge momentum killer,” added Reece. “That’s the type of plays that win you games. Emmy threw her out by three or four steps.”
Several Longhorns factored heavily in the win.
Miller had a banner day going 4-4 with three RBI’s and three runs scored. Edington was just as impressive going 4-5 with four runs scored. Cox raised some eyebrows going 4-4 with three runs scored. Gregg was 3-5 with three runs scored. Potter and Younce went 2-4 apiece.
Shoun, Forney and Ruel had two hits apiece for the Rangers.

JCHS Longhorn tennis double duo going separate ways

JC’s Ashtyn Henson and Gracie May reached the elite regional tournament.

 

By Tim Chambers

The Lady Longhorns’ tennis team had a banner season in 2017 and two seniors factored heavily in its success. Ashtyn Henson and Gracie May will leave some big shoes to be filled when the 2018 season rolls around.
They dynamic duo lost only one time during the regular season before dropping its first round game against Greeneville’s state ranked squad 6-0, 6-0 on Monday in the regional.
Henson knew what they were facing but said it didn’t take away what the team had accomplished.
“This was my best season ever,” said Henson. “Gracie and I worked super hard since last year to reach this point. We had people watching us and we didn’t want to let them down. It was a great feeling beating Elizabethton and knowing we made the regional our last year. I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without my coaches or Gracie. I owe a lot to all of them.”
Their only blemish in doubles play came against Sullivan East earlier in the season. This from a team who lost in the first round of the district as sophomores and logged only one win as juniors.
“I think we started to click toward the end of our junior season,” said May. “We started playing with a ton of confidence.”
Much like they did while knocking off Elizabethton in the  District that allowed them to make the regional.
“We went in confident and hardcore against them,” said May. “We had already beaten them once so we were ready. We play against the Cox twins all the time and they push us to the limit. We had already been tested every day in practice.”
May talked about the impact the Cox girls made on the tennis team. She knows they’ll be something special down the road.
“Taylor and Olivia can flat out play,” added May. “Coach Cox told us to act like it was them when we played our doubles match today. I can see them making the state tournament before they graduate. They really helped our team this year.”
Both Henson and May said that playing tennis together was special and it’s made their friendship even better. But all good things must come to an end.
The duo will test the waters outside of Johnson County in 2018.
Henson will wear the orange and black as a Milligan College Buffalo. May will cross the state line and play at Emory & Henry.
“It’s sad to watch it end,” added Henson. May echoes those same sentiments.
Henson thanks her mom, Michelle Michael, for always being there to support her. She also thanked Coach Eric Crabtree, Cox and Tim Tugman for making her a better player.
May praised Crabtree, Tugman and Cox for making her a better player. She also thanked her parents, Buck and Kathy May, for all their support and the Cox twins for pushing them in practice.
May said the part she will miss most is leading prayer for her and Henson before they participate in a doubles match.
“It’s sad when I think about not getting to play with Gracie ever again,” said Henson. “We had so many great times together. I wish her nothing but the best.”
May added. “It’s good to know our tennis careers will continue at the next level. Many people have helped me achieve this goal. One of those was Gracie. I will always be indebted.”

Longhorns demolish Hampton Bulldogs 13-3

JCMS’ Paige Knight bunts for a base hit versus Hampton

By Tim Chambers

A quick exit by the high school baseball and softball teams in tournament play left very little for Longhorn fans to cheer about this year. The middle school baseball team was eliminated 13-12 in the first round of their tournament so all hopes of a championship in 2017 were resting on the middle school softball team’s shoulders.
They did not disappoint Longhorn fans in round one.
A four-run sixth inning allowed them to walk away with a 13-3 victory and move into the semifinals round versus Unaka.
Head coach Greg Reece was very happy with the way his team played. He felt like it all started at practice.
“We worked hard in practice on Monday before the game,” said Reece. “It was good to actually practice on a real field instead of the track or the tennis courts. Parts of our lineup hit well. We were patient and drew some walks, then moved those runners around. We played pretty well in the field, and gave Hailey (Rider) the support she needed.  This was an elimination game so you have to come out ready to play. I thought our kids did that.”
Hampton dented the scoreboard first with a couple of key hits in the frame. Sara Orr and Destiny Milhorn delivered RBI singles that put the Dogs on top 2-0 but the Horns erased that in the bottom half.
Maddi Edington started it off with a single, then scored on Emmy Miller’s triple to make it 2-1.
Cassidy Lakatos doubled to tie the game at 2-2, and she later came home on a wild pitch to make it 3-2.
They would never relinquish the lead again.
Haley Cox walked to start the second inning and scored on Edington’s sacrifice fly. Miller then delivered her second three-bagger that led to three more runs.
Sydni Potter, Deanna Younce and Rider hit safely in the inning, allowing the Horns to increase their lead at 8-2.
The Longhorns used an RBI double from Lakatos that stretched it at 9-2 in the third before their humongous outburst in the sixth.
Younce had the biggest blow, a two-run single that made it 11-3. Rider’s double and Cox’s single would end the game due to the 10-run rule.
“Our hitters are starting to get mentally tougher at the plate,” added Reece. “We are doing a much better job hitting with two strikes. Emmy has been on fire at the plate and others are following suit. We’re starting to play some good softball right here at tournament time.”
Miller led the Longhorns, going 3-3 with three runs scored. Lakatos was 2-3 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI’s. Younce drove two runs going 2-4. Rider was 2-4 with two RBI’s. Edington and Cox went 1-3 each.
Milhorn and Andrews banged out two hits apiece to lead the Bulldogs. Orr, Madison Setlock, Maggie Dugger and Kendra Perkins had one hit each.
Rider went the distance on the mound to earn the win. She struck out five and never walked a batter.
The Longhorns will now face Unaka in the semifinals. Hampton will play in the consolation round.

Happy Valley Warriors eliminate Longhorns 7-4

 

JC catcher Nick Whitener #11 tags out HV’s Will Hampton #3 trying to score.

By Tim Chambers

KINGSPORT—Johnson County was hoping for a hat trick over Happy Valley but instead saw the Warriors prevail after two previous losses to the Horns. Their 7-4 victory on Monday night inside of J. Fred Johnson Stadium ended the Longhorns season at 5-13.
It was also a repeat of last year’s District 1-AA tournament that saw them depart with two consecutive losses.
The Longhorns appeared to be having everything going their way, leading 2-0 after the Warriors committed three errors in the third inning.
The Longhorns returned the favor by allowing the Warriors to score two unearned runs in the fourth to tie the game at 2-2. But they weren’t finished.
Happy Valley had only one hit in the inning but took advantage of three costly Longhorn errors and two hit batters. They led 5-2 after four.
Dustin Sams did his share of sending the Longhorns packing. He nearly went the distance on the mound to get the win. At the plate he was 3-4 with three RBI’s. Will Hampton was 2-2 with a run scored.
Bud Icenhour had two of Johnson County’s five hits. Nick Whitener, Daniel Livorsi and Jayden Joiner shared the other three.
Sams walked five batters but ended the game with 10 strikeouts. Hunter Jones came on to retire the final two outs.
Joiner took the loss for Johnson County allowing five runs, none earned. Whitener struck out three of the four batters he faced in 1 1/3 innings and was on the end of three great defensive plays.
He threw out a pair of Warriors trying to steal and made a great catch and tag on Shane Greer’s throw that nabbed Hampton in the first trying to score.
——
Happy Valley       000 052 0 — 7 9 4
Johnson Co.        002 000 0 — 4 5 5
WP—Sams  LP—Joiner

Happy Valley Warriors romp past Lady Longhorns 13-4

By Tim Chambers

ERWIN—Heavy rains came on Friday and halted the game between Johnson County and Happy Valley with the Warriors leading 5-4 after one. The Tribe would continue their red hot hitting on Monday while the Longhorns couldn’t dent the scoreboard another time.
Happy Valley used a six-run third to eliminate the Longhorns 13-4 in the District 1-AA softball tournament played at Unicoi County High School.
The Warriors are now 8-18 on the season. Johnson County ends their 2017 campaign at 5-15.
The Warriors had taken a 5-0 lead on Friday in the first, only to see the Lady Horns bounce back to pull within one.
Three walks led to a pair of runs, then Marley Eggers roped a two-run homer to cut the deficit to one.
It appeared as if the Lady Longhorns left their bats at home on Monday.
They managed only three hits over the next six innings, singles by Lindsey Wills and Brittney Brooks and Alexis Hendley’s double.
Happy Valley put the game away by scoring six times in the third inning. The mammoth blow was a three-run homer by Emily Whitaker over the right field fence that made it 11-4.
The Longhorns could never mount a serious threat off Happy Valley’s ace Bailey Hardin. The crafty righty fanned eight batters and walked only one while going the distance to earn the win.
Whitaker drove in three runs, going 2-3 with three runs scored for the Warriors. Kaitlyn Roberts had a pair of hits and scored three times. Kaitlyn Simerly provided four RBI’s and Claire Johnson had two.
Wills, Brittney Brooks, Hendley and Hannah Brooks had the only hits in the game for the Lady Longhorns.
Perhaps one Lady Longhorn said it best upon her departure for the field.
“Thank God it’s finally over,” as she kicked her bat bag. “We been beaten on more times than a punching bag.”
That pretty much summed up a dismal year that did include wins over Elizabethton and Happy Valley
——-

Happy Valley       516 001 0 — 13 7 2
Johnson Co.        400 000 0 —   4  5 4
WP—Bailey Hardin, LP—H. Brooks
HR—HV (Whitaker)

Longhorn netters ‘double’ up to reach semis

By Tim Chambers

KINGSPORT— The Lady Longhorn netters surprised the entire tennis field by sending two teams to the semi-finals which was to be played on Tuesday. The team of Ashtyn Henson and Gracie May will compete in one semi-final match while sisters, Taylor and Olivia Cox, will try and reach the final in the other doubles match.
Henson and May defeated Davis and Ricker of North Greene 8-5 to win in first round play. The Cox sisters blanked Ireson and Yates of Sullivan South 8-0.
Henson and May played well in the second set, knocking off St. Clair and Barrett of South 7-5, 6-1. But the Cox sisters found themselves in a dogfight before pulling out a win.
They upset top seed Nelson and Murray of Sullivan East 3-6, 6-1 and 6-4 to earn their semifinal berth.
Henson and May will take on Calpo and Rangel of Elizabethton in the first semifinal match. The Cox sisters will battle Casteel and Cutshaw of South Greene in the second match.
The doubles semifinals are set to begin at 11 am.
May is excited about what lies ahead for her and Henson.
We’ve already beaten them once this year,” said May. “We’ve got to come out focused, ready to play. We want the doubles championship to be all Johnson County. We’ve been working hard to make that happen.
Freshman Dalton Sluder won his first round match before falling in the second round. The Cox sisters are also freshmen.
Head coach Eric Crabtree is pleased. “It’s obvious that we’ve played well –  especially Gracie, Ashtyn,  Olivia and Taylor,” said Crabtree. “But we played well in some of our losses too. Dalton had a big first round win and our other kids played good but had some tough luck late. This has been a good showing for Johnson County. It has a chance to get even better.”

Sullivan East Patriots pummel Longhorns 10-0

JC’s Shane Greer pitched well against East but was touched for eight unearned runs.

By Tim Chambers

KINGSPORT—A critical error opened the flood gates for Sullivan East and then “along came Jones.” A two-out error and the bat of John Jones helped the Pats knock off Johnson County 10-0 in the District 1-AA baseball tournament at J. Fred Johnson Stadium on Sunday.
It was a heartbreaking day for Longhorns’ starting pitcher, Shane Greer, who allowed seven runs, but none were earned.
The Pats got on the board in the first inning with some small ball play. Aaron Frye reached on an error and moved to second on a single by Elias Arnold. A sac bunt and sacrifice fly from Matt Hopson gave East a 1-0 advantage. The next Longhorn mistake would prove costly.
East loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning with Greer trying to escape the jam. He got the ground ball needed to get out of the inning, but it went through the legs of a Longhorn infielder allowing two base runners to score.
The Patriots would tally five more before the final out could be recorded. Johnson County trailed at that point 8-0.
Jones was a thorn in the Longhorns’ side from the get-go. He roped a bases-loaded double in the third inning and a two-run single to end the game in the fifth.
Jones ended the day going 3-3 with five RBIs.
Johnson County had only three base hits and two were of the infield variety. Nick Whitener lined a sharp single in the fourth. Jayden Joiner and Daniel Livorsi were able to beat out a pair of infield singles.
Alex McCracken helped the Patriots’ cause by going 2-2.
Johnny Arnold and Alex Calderon pitched well in relief for Johnson County.
——
Johnson Co.        000 00 — 0    3 2
Sullivan East        107 02 — 10  9 1
WP—Frye  LP—Greer

Sullivan South pounds Lady Longhorns 9-1

Courtney Brooks 2 hits vs. South

By Tim Chambers

ERWIN—Nobody was singing “how I love the rainy nights” on Thursday at Unicoi. Chilly temperatures and muddy conditions made play difficult at times and so did the high winds for Johnson County.
But it didn’t seem to bother Sullivan South.
The Rebels homered twice in their 9-1 round over the Lady Longhorns in the District 1-AA softball tournament played at UCHS.   They advance to play Elizabethton on Monday.
Johnson County will battle Happy Valley in an elimination game on Monday at 5 pm. The Longhorns trailed 5-4 going into the second inning before heavy rains forced the game to be stopped.
Johnson County’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position did them in. They couldn’t deliver the clutch hits needed to keep them in the game.
Bella Miller and Lindsey Wills singled to start the first inning but were left stranded. The same sequence could be found throughout the game.
Hannah Brooks crushed an RBI single off the left field fence with two on and nobody out in the third, but they couldn’t muster another run.
South scored four times in the bottom half to go up 6-0 after scoring two in the first.
Taylor Wexler’s two-run homer gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The dagger was a three-run blast off the bat of Allison Chapman in the third inning that made it 7-1.
That was more than enough needed for starting pitcher Taylor McConnell who allowed only six hits in the contest.
Courtney Brooks and Lindsey Wills had two hits each for the Lady Longhorns. Hannah Brooks and freshman Alexis Hendley shared one each.
Chapman had two hits for the Lady Rebels as did Brynna Teal who are now 21-11 on the season. Chapman collected three RBI’s and Teal and Laura Dade scored two runs each.
——-

Johnson County 001 000 0 — 1   6 3
Sullivan South     025 011 x—  9 10 1
WP—McConnell   LP—H Brooks
HR—East (Wexler, Chapman)

Coach Pete Pavusek already surpassed significant milestones

JCHS Baseball Coach Pete Pavusek

By Tim Chambers

It’s pretty special when Johnson County knocks off Elizabethton and Happy Valley in back-to-back games. It’s even more special when they total 309 and 310 victories.
That’s the number that current head baseball coach Pete Pavusek has accumulated since his arrival as head coach at Johnson County 22 seasons ago.
It’s quite a remarkable accomplishment considering today’s coaching fraternity throughout East Tennessee.
One of Pavusek’s wins came over Cyclones’ head coach, Ryan Presnell. Pavusek respects him despite the rivalry.
“Coach Presnell has those kids headed in the right direction,” said Pavusek. “He’s a great coach now and will get even better. That was a great hire for them.”
His 309th victory was a 9-2 win over the Cyclones. He was rewarded by Presnell with a return compliment.
“I love Coach Pavusek and I’ve got a ton of respect for him,” said Presnell. “They are competitive every year.  He does a great job and he does it right. He gets a lot out of his players and demands discipline.”
Pavusek had a hard time recalling who his first victory was against. He had to think for a minute.
“For some odd reason I think it was Unaka,” said Pavusek. “It’s just hard to recall because it’s been so long. If we beat them, we beat a good team.”
Pavusek has seen a ton of changes in the game over his 22-year span as skipper. He touched on a few of those.
“There is so much more to it now,” added Pavusek. “The game has gotten very detailed. You got all these little intricate things and nuisances, everything is specialized. You’ve got all kinds of plays to work on and do. There are different situations throughout the game and you’ve got to be on top of it.”
Pavusek thanked all his assistant coaches and especially current one, Jerry Whitener.
“He’s a great man, a great coach and friend and I don’t know what we would do without him,” said Pavusek. “We’ve had some good ones up, here but Jerry has been one of the best.”
Behind every good coach you have to have good players. Pavusek recalls a few but said there have been many.
“I’ve been blessed to have so many good kids come through here,” added Pavusek. “One of those is Rafael Zabala who is doing great things for the city of Johnson City in the restaurant business and the downtown projects going on there.
Another was Chris Gambill who struck out 188 batters his senior season with 2.7 average strikeouts per inning.
“That stands out like a sore thumb,” said Pavusek with a grin. “I remember his mother, Angie, and how she and the community stood behind me. She is one of the greatest women that I’ve ever come across in my lifetime. I’ll never forget her and the people in this community for standing up for me during a tough time.”
Good years, longevity and great people have a tendency to change things. Pavusek knows he’s been blessed to be a part of the Johnson County community.
“I love being a fixture in this community and I’m proud of it,” added Pavusek. “I couldn’t have imagined going anywhere else and now I’m getting to see my boys grow up in it. Petie is now a freshman playing for me, and Peyton is a sixth grader.”
Pavusek said one of his greatest moments was going to the sub-state with Ryan Mahala and company.  But even now he says it’s all about the kids.
“We’ve won some and we’ve lost some,” added Pavusek about his total. “But reaching 310 would not be possible without good people around me. I have a good wife (Diana) and great kids.  I’ve been blessed with wonderful players and assistant coaches plus some good administration people. They all deserve credit too.”
Just like Pavusek.
310 is not an easy number of wins to come by.

Coach Pete Pavusek

Sullivan East’s Lady Patriots lasso JCHS Longhorns 10-3

East’s Autumn Gobble #8 avoids the tag of JC’s catcher Brittney Brooks.

By Tim Chambers

It took only three innings for the fat lady to sing, close her songbook and head home on Tuesday. Sullivan East scored 10 runs in the first three frames to knock off Johnson County 10-3 in high school softball play on Bob Kirksey Field.
The two squads had played close in their previous contest with Johnson County falling 9-5 thanks to a grand slam homer. This time the game was decided early.
The Lady Pats wasted no time getting their bats going in the first inning. Three singles and a double by Autumn Gobble enabled East to gain a 4-0 advantage.
The Longhorns loaded the bases in the bottom half with a pair of singles by Hannah Brooks and Marley Eggers and a leadoff walk to Bella Miller. Natalie Winters grounded out to bring in one run but the Horns would leave the bases loaded trailing 4-1.
East added three more in the second stanza to go up 7-1. They duplicated that in the following inning to move in front 10-1.
The Longhorns were able to extend the game by scoring twice in the fourth inning. Miller and Lindsey Wills had RBI singles. Maddie South started the inning with a leadoff single.
The bright spot for Johnson County was the pitching of Hannah Brooks. The talented freshman came on in relief of Courtney Brooks in the fourth inning and threw four scoreless innings. Kylee went the distance for East to earn the win.
Miller led the Longhorns’ offense going 2-3 with two runs scored. South was 2-3. Wills was 1-3 with an RBI.
Chelsey Sams collected four hits and scored three times to pace the Lady Pats. Kelsey Smith, Wolfe, Gobble and Jana White added two hits apiece for the Patriots.

Nevada Woodard becomes an Emory & Henry Wasp

Nevada Woodard is all smiles after signing with the Wasps as coaches Anthony Woodard, Don Kerley and family look on.

By Tim Chambers

The short trip from Mountain City to Emory & Henry was the key selling point for Nevada Woodard to become a Wasp on the gridiron in 2017. The senior standout signed on to play football for the Wasps and that has his coaches and teammates “buzzing” about his opportunity.
Woodard was an All-Conference performer for the Longhorns and was one of a few players that started on both sides of the ball. He recorded 88 tackles as a defensive end and doubled as the team’s starting fullback.
He’s excited about playing at the collegiate level next year.
“I had visited several colleges in North Carolina and I liked Winthrop, but Emory & Henry called right out of the blue and offered me a visit,” said Woodard. “I loved the campus when they took me around plus the school is only 30 minutes from Johnson County. It has a great academic history, it’s a small school, plus it’s very close to home. Those were some things that I was looking for.”
The Wasps return 28 players next year so Woodward has his sights set on something.
“I want to try and play special teams my first year and hopefully be a position player my second season,” added Woodard. “I’ll give it all I have. I’m hoping they play me on the defensive side and I think they will. That’s where I‘m most comfortable at.”
Woodard paid his dues as a standout player for Johnson County. He broke his leg as a freshman and missed the entire season. He feels like that made him a better player.
“I learned to appreciate the opportunity that God gave me to play,” said Woodard. “My brother and Coach (Anthony Woodard) began working with me on my rehab the minute that I could walk. I love the game and I want to be around it for many years to come. I owe a lot to my coaches for believing in me.”
He’s earned respect from his high school head coach, Don Kerley.
“Nevada has worked hard and he’s a great kid,” said Kerley. “He’s never missed a practice and he’s a great student in the classroom. We’re happy that he’s getting this opportunity.”
Kerley said that Woodard had a very good ACT score. He believes that the Wasps are getting a good player.
”He wanted to stay close to home and went to several camps there,” added Kerley.  “He had some people looking at him, but E&H will be a good fit. I can see him likely playing outside linebacker. He’s got a good nose for the football and he’s very smart. He’s as strong as anybody we had. That’s going to help him at that level.”
Woodard knew that the juices to play were overflowing by his junior season.
“I started thinking about playing college football my junior year,” added Woodard. “I busted it in the weight room.  I remember not wanting to let my senior year be my last football game. That and several of my friends have encouraged me to make the most of it.”
Woodard said his fondest memory was being a part of three playoff teams. He thanked his brother and coach Anthony for never giving up on him. He also handed out high praise for Kerley and his coaching staff.
“There have been so many people to help me that it would be hard to mention them all,” said Woodard. “I just want to get ready for school, play football and get a good education.  That’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish.”
Expect Woodard to be a “busy bee” in the fall of 2017.
He’ll fit in nicely as a “Wasp.” Hopefully he’ll have the coaching staff buzzing about his work ethics and talents.
It’s easy to envision him “stinging” many ball carriers over the next four seasons.

Johnson County Middle School softball upends Happy Valley and Hampton

JCMS’ Emmy Miller #20 steals third base against Hampton

By Tim Chambers

It’s been tough sledding for the middle school Longhorns over the past couple of weeks but two conference wins got them back on track. They knocked off Happy Valley 7-3 on Tuesday, then got by Hampton 9-4 on Friday.

Johnson County 7
Happy Valley 3
The Longhorns avenged an earlier loss to the Warriors by picking up a four-run victory.  This time the Horns struck often and early.
Three singles by Cassidy Lakatos, Emmy Miller and Jayla Gregg would score Maddie Edington in the first inning. Miller and Gregg crossed the dish and Faith Walsh added a big base hit to put Johnson County on top 3-0.
They added two more runs in the second inning to extend their lead at 5-0. Sydni Potter and Haley Rider both singled and scored on base hits by Edington and Miller.
Happy Valley scored their lone two runs in the third but it wouldn’t be enough.
Miller singled and scored in the sixth to put the game away.
“We have had this one circled on the calendar,” said JCMS’ head coach Greg Reece.  “We really did not play well against the Warriors at home. We had too many errors, base-running mistakes and were just flat, but we had a little bit of fire in our eyes tonight. You could see the intensity get turned up. Tonight was much better, and we are getting back on course just in time for the conference tournament.”
Miller led the Longhorns going 3-3. Potter was 2-2 with a run scored. Edington, Lakatos, Gregg, Walsh, and Rider added one hit apiece.

Johnson County 9
Hampton 4
The Longhorns erupted for seven runs in the first two innings to knock off rival Hampton 9-4.
Jayla Gregg and Emmy Miller went 3-4 to lead the way. Maddie Edington, Paige Knight and Haley Rider added two hits each. DeAnna Younce went 1-2 with an RBI.
Maddie Satlock had three hits for the Bulldogs. Sophia Able, Bridgett Heaton, Sarah Orr and Maggie Dugger added two hits apiece.
The Longhorns used RBI singles by Emmy Miller, Jayla Gregg and Paige Knight to go up 2-0 in the first. Run scoring singles by Maddie Edington, Miller and Gregg would highlight the second inning.
Head coach Greg Reece was happy with his team’s victory.
“It was a good night because we won and all of our eighth graders got significant playing time,” said Reece. “They really are a great group and they work extremely hard. Hallie Reece pitched well for us tonight and got the win. She has been a big part of our success this year.”
Reece went on to add.
“We hit pretty well, and we did what we had to do to generate runs.
“We knew that Hampton would keep it interesting and they did. Kim Andrews and her staff do a good job.”

JCMS spanks Unaka Rangers but bitten by Hampton Bulldogs

JCMS’ Mason Bragg went 4-4 in their win over Unaka

By Tim Chambers

The middle school Longhorns split a pair of conference games over the weekend including another close loss to Hampton. They fell to the Bulldogs 6-4 on Saturday after blasting Unaka 22-2 on Friday.

JCMS 22
Unaka 2
The Longhorns exploded for 10 runs in the first inning and never looked back while earning their lopsided victory. They banged out eight hits in the first frame sending 14 batters to the plate.
Mason Bragg and Asa Lewis had a pair of base hits in the inning. Seth Condor had three RBI’s in the frame. Isaac Roark, Ethan Icenhour and Zack Parsons all added RBI base hits.
Johnson County used a quartet of singles from Parsons, Preston Greer, Bragg and Lewis to plate a couple more runs in the second frame.
The Horns kept ripping the cover off the ball using the final two innings to score 10 runs.
Stacy Greer started the third inning off with a base hit. Roark, Icenhour and Preston Greer would cash in on the hit parade with a trio of one-baggers.
Dalton Brown and Trey Snyder led a fifth inning charge that netted another six runs by swatting key base hits. Unaka scored their lone two runs in the third.
Bragg led the Longhorns, going 4-4 while Lewis was 3-3. Roark, Icenhour, Parson and Preston Greer added two hits each. Stacy Greer was 1-2 with three walks.
“We hit the ball great the entire game,” said head coach Julian Crews about his Longhorns. “We were very aggressive at the plate. That’s what you like to see as a coach.”
Icenhour, Condor, Parsons and Lewis pitched one inning each for the Longhorns. Icenhour was credited with the victory.

Hampton 6
JCMS 4
Johnson County’s attempt to defeat Hampton was like trying to ride a mini-bike over into Shady Valley. They sputtered at times, got close, but in the end didn’t have the horsepower needed to finish their mission.
The Bulldogs scored three unearned runs in the sixth that enabled them to prevail 6-4 over the Longhorns.
It was the second time they had defeated them this season.
The Horns scored the game’s first run in the second inning when Josh Austin singled in Isaac Roark who had doubled. Hampton wasted no time erasing the deficit in the bottom half.
Kyle Lewis had an RBI single and McKinley drove in another with a fielder’s choice to put Hampton up 2-1.
The Dogs upped the ante to 3-1 in the fourth by collecting an unearned run, but the Horns would answer. Isaac Roark’s base hit scored Asa Lewis who had singled to close the deficit at 3-2.
The Dogs took advantage of a missed fly ball and two walks to score three more in the sixth inning.
Johnson County tried to rally in the seventh by scoring two more runs but came up a couple short.
Stacy Greer doubled in Bragg who had singled. Roark plated the final run with an RBI base hit.
Lewis and Roark supplied a huge portion of Johnson County’s offense by going 3-4 apiece. Stacy Greer reached base three times and was 1-2.
Ethan Icenhour pitched three strong innings for the Longhorns before giving way to Zack Parsons in the fourth. Parsons gave up three runs, all unearned.
The Horns outhit Hampton 11 to 4.
Connor Burleson went the distance to pick up the win for Hampton.
“We hit the ball well but defensively we had four errors,” said JCMS’ head coach Julian Crews. “That pretty much was the difference in the game.”