Longhorn netters split with North

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Tennis season finally got underway for Johnson County on Tuesday after bad weather had forced several matches to be postponed.
The Lady Longhorns kicked off the season with an impressive 8-1 win over Sullivan North, but the boys were swept 9-0 by the Golden Raiders.
Johnson County’s new head coach Zack Pittman acknowledged his girl’s dominating performance and also saw some good things on the boy’s side.
“I thought girls played exceptionally and I saw some good things from the boys despite the loss,” said Pittman. “Mason had a very tough opponent who is one of the league’s best and Dalton Sluder played pretty good in his match. Will Henson hasn’t been playing but a few weeks, but he held his own. Noah Cox and Noah Nelson each lost close matches and very well could have won. This was the first ever match for some so we’ll get better as the season progresses.”

The most impressive performance belonged to the Cox twins, Taylor and Olivia who made a strong run in the District last year. Taylor took her singles match 8-1 while Olivia prevailed 8-2. They earned an 8-0 loss in their doubles match.

“It felt great to be back on the court for our opening match, but I need to get back in shape,” said Taylor Cox. “She worked me hard in the singles match because I am more confident playing doubles. I believe we have a pretty good team if we can get some time outside. It has been frustrating because we’ve had three or four matches canceled because of snow and the cold. Everyone on the team has been waiting around for this.”
Taylor made quick work of her singles match, and Olivia wasn’t far behind. Pittman liked what he saw out of the sisters who he thinks can be even better.”

“Coach Craig Cox works with Taylor and Olivia all the time, and it shows,” said Pittman. “They keep the ball in play when playing doubles, but I want to see them challenge the net and hit some balls back hard because they can do it. Taylor Parsons played well despite being a newcomer. Hailey Cannon played good in her match and so did Margaret Morrow despite losing a close one.”

Cannon played as the No.3 seed and earned an 8-2 win in her match. Parsons was impressive in her first match ever winning 8-0.
Morrow lost 6-8 playing in the fourth slot but did team up with Cannon to win handily 8-2 on the doubles side.
The Longhorns earned forfeits in the final two matches because North had only five players. Stanley kicked off play against a very strong opponent who has been a hard out in District play over the past three years. He was defeated 3-8 as was Henson who played as the No.4 seed.
Dalton Sluder, Noah Cox, and Noah Nelson each lost 5-8 in close matches.

The Longhorns played tooth and nail with North in doubles before dropping a pair of nail-biters.Stanly and Sluder lost a heartbreaking 6-8 decision while Henson and Nelson were edged 7-9.The Longhorns had to forfeit two matches because they only had five players dress.
“Our kids work hard each day, and many of them like the Cox girls, Mason, Dalton and Noah stay over after every practice,” added Pittman. “We get better with every match. The kids were happy to be outside. It is a great group to work with.”

Icenhour to play basketball at Bristol Prep

Bud Icenhour signing

Bud Icenhour cast his lot with Bristol Prep on Thursday afternoon at JCHS. Front row, L-R: Ryleigh Icenhour, Jennifer Icenhour, Bud Icenhour, Billy Icenhour and Rhiannon Icenhour.
Back row, L-R: JCHS’ head coach and athletic director Austin Atwood, Coach Patrick Grayson,
Coach Will Ratliff and Coach Robert Puckett.

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Bristol Prep was in need of a shooting guard so head Coach Patrick Grayson knew just the right place to find one on Thursday. His former high school had just what the doctor ordered. Bud Icenhour cast his lot to play basketball next season at Bristol Prep on Thursday after a standout 3-sport career with the Longhorns. Icenhour will gain another year of basketball by doing so and could greatly improve the skills that will allow him to play at a higher level in college. The Pacers play a brutal schedule against some of the best prep schools in the county including Oak Hill Academy and Hargrove Military Academy. Icenhour’s stock could soar out the roof with basketball being his sole sport now.

He averaged 17 points per game, three assists and led Northeast Tennessee in most 3-point shots made on this year’s 22-11 squad. He was named to the All-Conference and All-District teams and the Tomahawk’s Dandy Dozen All Johnson-Carter County first team. In football, he has amassed more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and was tabbed to the All-Conference team. He currently is one of the leading hitters and pitchers on the baseball team and will leave as one of the best three-sport athletes to ever wear the Longhorns uniform.

Icenhour said that Bristol Prep was the right fit for him to improve his stock while he tries to get better. “I want to play against bigger, stronger and faster competition and let me see if I can do against them what I did here,” said Icenhour. “

I’ll be playing against people that I’ve never seen before, and some of them will be playing at a D-1 level after next season. Bristol Prep is sponsored by Adidas, and that got me very interested. Getting to focus all my time on basketball will make me a much better player. I just feel like this is the right fit for me.”

Icenhour was correct in his assessment. He’s always jumped out of one sport and straight into another. JCHS’ head basketball coach and athletic director Austin Atwood believes that Icenhour will become a great find once he can focus on basketball only.

“You don’t see many 3-sport athletes anymore like Bud,” said Atwood. “They usually pick one or two by the time they are juniors, but he’s given his whole life to athletics here. Bud has been a part of my family since his birth and not only as a basketball player. I can remember his dad, Billy, digging footers when I was building my house, and Bud was just a little fellow sleeping in the bucket. Billy and I have been close friends, and we’ve coached together. I can’t think of a better pure shooter in the state than Bud. He doesn’t have to have much space, and his release is quick. I can assure you that he’s a great find for them.”

Bristol Prep was started three years ago by their head coach and former Johnson County player Patrick Grayson. He played his high school ball for J.R. Campbell, and his grandmother still resides in Mountain City. He was a volunteer assistant coach at King University before moving on to Bristol Prep.“It’s a blessing to get someone like Bud to come and validate what we’re trying to do here at Bristol Prep,” said Grayson. “People don’t understand how this school helps players that are graduating high school. We start looking for them places to play from the time they walk through our doors and onto campus. We put them in front of coaches that have never seen them play and they play against some elite players. I think it’s a win-win for them.”

Icenhour likes that fact that Grayson is a former Longhorn.“We’ve already got that Johnson County connection and we’ve become close,” added Icenhour. “ I really like having him as my coach. I’m going to work on becoming just an all-around better basketball player. Playing at Johnson County was something that I always wanted to do. I grew up wanted to be a Longhorn. This year has been a special one.” Bristol Prep coach and former Milligan standout Will Ratliff believe that Icenhour can be a standout player at the college level.

“Bud has that gumption, and intestinal fortitude as my grandmother would say,” said Ratliff. “He’s going to play hard regardless if you up by 20 or down by 20. Bud is a winner who knows how to win. He likes to compete, and that’s due to all the sports that he plays. He’s definitely going to help us both on and off the floor. We’re very excited about getting him.”

Bud is the son of Billy and Jennifer Icenhour. His sisters, Rhiannon and Ryleigh are both Longhorn athletes. The parents were excited about his choice. “I think this will open up more opportunities up for him in the future,” said Billy. “He’s a good student, but this will allow him more time to prepare for what he wants to do.”Jennifer added. “I just want him to fulfill his dreams and be happy. Bud will finally get a chance to concentrate on one sport, and I think this is going to help him achieve his goal.”

Icenhour will always remember his time as a Longhorn.“I want to thank all my coaches in each sport for helping me become a better player and person,” said Icenhour. “This year has been one that I’ll never forget. We had to grind for three years and then it started to click. We had a particular football and basketball run. Baseball is starting to do that too. I’m going to miss my teammates because we’re all like brothers. I’m especially going to miss playing for the Longhorns.”

Rebels slip past Longhorns 4-3

18 Courtney Brooks pitch

JC’s Courtney Brooks pitched a complete game and had two hits versus South. The Longhorns suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

KINGSPORT—A see-saw contest left Johnson County hanging one run short on Tuesday afternoon in Kingsport. Sullivan South scored two times in the bottom of the sixth to earn a hard-fought 4-3 Three Rivers Conference softball victory.

The Rebels rallied after Johnson County had taken a 3-2 advantage in the top half of the sixth. Head coach Angela Blevins touched on the loss.
“We’re a young team, and also so close,” said Blevins. “I thought we played well, but we couldn’t get that crucial hit or two when we needed. It. We’ve lost a couple of games like that where we had the lead late only to get beat by a single run. This team needs something good to happen to them. Some mistakes we are making are because of our youth, but you have to overcome that part if you want to win in our league.”

The Longhorns were trailing 2-1 when Emmy Miller belted a two-run base hit scoring Courtney Brooks who has singled and Lindsey Wills who was hit by a pitch. It could have been more, but South’s Taylor McConnell recorded a strikeout to escape the jam with runners at second and third.
The Rebels got a double by Maddie Townsend to lead off the sixth and a single from Nichole Troutman that put runners at second and third. Townsend was able to score the tying run and Troutman came home with the game-winner on Brynna Teal’s sacrifice fly. The Rebels jumped on top 1-0 on a run-scoring single by McKenzie Wallen only to watch the Lady Longhorns tie the game in the third. Maddie Edington singled then scored on a base hit by Courtney Brooks.

The Rebels went up 2-1 on Troutman’s single that scored Taylor Wexler. Neither team could push another run across until the sixth when the game was decided. Brooks led the hitting going 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. She also went the distance on the mound recording five strikeouts. Miller drove in a pair of runs for the Longhorns going 1-for-3. Hannah Brooks, Natalie Winters, Bella Miller, Cassidy Lakatos and Edington all went 1-for-3 apiece. Troutman led the Lady Rebels with three hits. Ireson and Wexler provided two apiece.  McConnell went the distance to record the win for the Rebels.

Johnson Co. 001 002 0 – 3 8 2
Sullivan So. 010 102 x – 4 9 1

C. Brooks and E. Miller. McConnell and Teal.
WP—McConnell, LP—C. Brooks

Lady Blue Devils crush Horns 20-7

Hailey Rider

JCMS’ Hailey Rider applies the tag on Unicoi’s Betsy Chavey. The Longhorns suffered a 20-7 loss to the undefeated Blue Devils. Photo by Tim Chambers.

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

JCMS’ head coach Greg Reece summed up his team’s game with Unicoi County Middle School while walking across the field.

“We play teams like this to get better,” said Reece. “Unicoi County has a great softball team, and they’ll carry on that tradition to the high school, but we didn’t come out ready to play at the beginning, and that’s my fault. Things have been so up and down with scheduling problems, and hopefully, the weather is about to settle down, and we can head into April and play some ball.”

The Longhorns’ skipper hit the nail on the head. His team fell to the superior Devils 20-7 on Tuesday at Bob Kirksey Field. The Blue Devils jumped on top 6-0 in the first inning and scored five times in the fourth and fifth frames. Johnson County scored four times in the fourth inning after logging three in their first three at-bats.

Faith Walsh went 3-for-3 to lead the Longhorns at the plate. Hannah Fritts added two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored. Hailey Cox and Autumn Lewis provided two hits apiece. Haley Rider, Sarah rider and Kristen each belted a base hit and scored. Rachel had a monster game collecting four hits for the Lady Blue Devils. Kayla Wilson, Jada Avila, Faith Bennett and Skyler Tipton added two hits apiece.

UCMS 613 55 – 20 19 4
JCMS 012 40 – 7 12 5

Longhorns rustle Rangers 15-2

JCMS’ Zack Parsons (3) fires a pitch for the Longhorns against Unaka. Parsons tossed a 4-hitter on the mound and had two hits in their 15-2 win. Photo by Tamela Trivett

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County got off to a fast start then kept the pedal to the metal against visiting Unaka for five innings. That enabled them to speed past the Rangers 15-2 on a cold and breezy Friday in Mountain City.

The win was highlighted by a dominant pitching performance from Zack Parsons and the red-hot hitting of Dalton Brown.

JCMS’ head coach Julian Crews summed up the game in brief detail. He said that their pitching and hitting pretty much was the key.”

“Zack pitched a great game today,” said Crews. “They only put four balls in play and he pretty much dominated. Zack threw hard, and Dalton Brown is just knocking the cover off of it. He’s currently hitting over .800, and Asa Lewis is hitting better than a .500 average. Parsons, Ethan Icenhour, Josh Austin and Trey Snyder are well over .400, so we’ve been able to score some runs. That was the case again against Unaka.”

Crews hit the nail on the head as the Horns scored six times in the first inning to go up 6-1.
Icenhour drove in Seth Conder with double to tie the game at 1-1. RBI singles from Lewis, Parsons, Brown, Austin and Dakota Holt highlighted the Longhorns’ hit parade.

A pair of doubles by Lewis and Brown in the second inning would extend their lead 7-1.
The Longhorns were able to score four times in the third and fourth innings that would put the game away.
They scored all their runs in the third with two outs. Conder doubled and scored on a single by Icenhour. Lewis, Parsons, and Snyder all collected RBI base hits that extended their advantage at 11-2.

Lewis had an RBI double in the fourth and Brown drove in the final run with his fourth hit of the game.

Parsons came on in relief of Lewis in the first inning and struck out 12 of the 14 outs that were recorded. He also had two hits and three RBI’s.

Brown led the Longhorns going 4-for-4 with three RBI’s. Lewis added three hits and batted in three runs. Icenhour had two hits and three RBI’s. Conder, Snyder, Austin, and Holt provided one hit each.
Devin Ramsey and Tee Sherrell had the only hits in the game for Unaka.

Unaka 1 01 00 – 2 2 1
Johnson Co. 6 1 4 4 X–15 15 0

Ethan Icenhour rips an RBI base hit against Unaka. Icenhour had two hits,
and 3 RBI’s in their 15-2 win over the Rangers.


Jr. Lady Horns outlast Highlanders 9-8

JCMS’ Hailey Rider throws out a Highlander runner from third base. Rider had a key base hit in the final inning of their 9-8 victory over Cloudland. Photo by Tamela Trivett

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County Middle School celebrated the first week of spring with an “Autumn-like” effect on Friday afternoon at Bob Kirksey Field.

Autumn Lewis ripped a walk-off RBI double in the seventh inning to lift the junior high Longhorns past Cloudland 9-8 in an all-important Little Watauga Conference game.
Lewis’ game-winner scored Audrey Saver who was running for Hailey Rider after she had led off the inning with a single. The Highlanders had battled back from an early 7-1 deficit to tie the game with two runs in the top half of the seventh.

Head coach Greg Reece noted that that the game might go down to the wire.
“This was your typical Johnson County-Cloudland game,” said Reece. “One team jumps out to a lead, then the other team battles back and it comes down to the last at-bat.”
Reece added that the game was filled with big plays when he said, “Hailey Cox caught a deep fly ball and doubled off a runner in the sixth. Lewis and Rider had the two big hits in the seventh inning to win it. Hannah Fritts pitched a great game for us, and those runs she gave up were unearned. We were minus Jayla Gregg, so the girls did a great job of picking one another up in her absence.”
It appeared as if the game might be a blowout in the early going.

Johnson County scored four times in the first inning to go up 4-0,

Cox led off with a triple and scored on a base hit by Fritts. Faith Walsh provided a key base hit and scored as did Fritts. Haley Rider’s sacrifice bunt scored Sydni Potter who had walked. But the Horns weren’t finished.

The added three more runs in the third to increase their advantage to 7-1.

Fritts got things started with a triple, and Sarah Rider ended the inning with a run-scoring single. From there the Highlanders would begin chipping away including scoring four times in the fifth inning to cut the deficit at 7-6 after getting a solo run in the fourth. The big blow was a two-run triple by Madison Gibson and RBI single from Taylor Hicks.

The Horns went up 8-6 in the sixth inning only to watch the Highlanders tied the game in the seventh on RBI base hits from Kendal Birchfield and Billie Ellis.That set the stage for Lewis’ game-winner in the bottom half.

“Coach Hicks and I joked on and off through that game about every time Cloudland and JCMS play it turns into a nail-biter,” said Reece. “We had a lot of success early offensively, and were able to find late enough in the game when we absolutely needed it to pull out the win.”

Walsh, Fritts and Sarah Rider had two hits each to lead the Longhorns. Lewis, Cox and Haley Rider collected one apiece.

Taylor Hicks went 3-3 to pace the Highlanders while Gibbs was 2-4 with two runs scored.
Haley Rider earned the win on the mound in relief
of Fritts.

The Longhorns are currently 3-0 on the season but have had to postpone four games. They’ll try and get in a game at Sullivan North on Thursday.

Cloudland 010 140 2 – 8 8 5
Johnson Co 403 001 1 – 9 9 4
WP—H. Rider

JCMS’ Audey Savery gets waved home by assistant coach Abby Reece with the game-winning run. The Longhorns
prevailed 9-8 over Cloudland. Photo by Tamela Trivette

Lady Horns clobber Cloudland 10-3

JC’s Bella Miller, Hannah Brooks and Emmy Miller came up big in their win 10-3 win over Cloudland. Hannah went 1-2 and pitched the win. Emmy was 2-3 with four RBI’s while Bella provided an RBI base hit. Photos by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

JOHNSON CITY—Heavy rain and snow “whitewashed” Saturday’s games in the Science Hill softball tournament but Johnson County managed to gather a win on Friday in the opening round played at Wing Deer Park.

The Longhorns looked impressive in their 10-3 win over Cloudland in their first game before dropping a hard-fought 3-0 contest to Dobyns-

Hannah Brooks was outstanding on the mound tossing a four-hitter while striking out seven. The Longhorns banged out 11 hits and ten runs in the five innings, 80-minute

“The girls were determined to hit the ball off Birchfield, their pitcher,” said Johnson County’s head coach Angela Blevins. “We had a lot of big hits in the game, and Emmy Miller had two of those. We did a good job of hitting, and I thought Hannah had a good location with her pitches. We had 11 hits and scored ten runs. You feel good about your chances when you’re able to do what we did tonight.”
The Longhorns failed to score in the first inning but managed to put three on the board in the second frame. Bella Miller and Maddie Edington ripped back-to-back doubles that pushed one across then Abby Cornett’s sacrifice bunt got mishandled resulting in another run.

Courtney Brooks made it 3-0 by slapping a run-scoring single before Cloudland could escape the inning. It only got worse for the ‘Landers in the following frame.

Hannah Brooks led off with a walk then moved to third on a laser-type double off the bat of Natalie Winters. Emmy Miller made it 5-0 with a solid two-run single. Cassidy Lakatos drove in Miller with a groundout that pushed their advantage at 6-0.

The Highlanders picked up an unearned run in the bottom half that cut it back to five, but it got to be a lot more after Johnson County’s next at-bat.

Cornett belted a leadoff triple then scored on Courtney Brooks’ third hit of the game. Hannah Brooks and Winters followed with back-to-back singles that loaded the bases.

Emmy Miller then broke the game open with a two-run double and later raced home to make it 9-1.
The Highlanders tried to claw their way back in getting a two-run double by Shy Strickland in the bottom half but still trailed by seven.

Hannah Brooks struck out three Highlanders in the fifth inning ending the game as the time limit expired.

Johnson County’s hit parade had several players that stood out. Freshman Emmy Miller went 2-3 with four RBI’s and two runs scored. Courtney Brooks added a 3-4 effort with two RBI’s. Natalie Winters was 2-3 with two runs scored.

Hannah Brooks went 1-2 with two runs scored. Bella Miller, Edington and Cornett with 1-3 each with an RBI and run scored.

Birchfield had a pair of hits for the Highlanders.

Johnson Co. 033 40 – 10 11 4
Cloudland 002 10 – 3 4 1

WP—H. Brooks, LP—Birchfield

Junior Longhorns oust Vikings 11-10

JCMS’ Asa Lewis (20) tossed a 2-hitter without allowing a run in their 10-0 victory over Avery County. Lewis is now 2-0 on the season. Photos by Tamela Trivett

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

A wet field and threats of more rain couldn’t prevent the junior high Longhorns from logging another victory on Tuesday. Johnson County Middle School scored seven times in the first inning that led to their 11-0 win over Avery County Middle School.

The Horns won their third game of the year without a loss behind the pitching of Asa Lewis and the clutch hitting of Josh Austin, Zack Parsons, and Ethan Icenhour.

Head coach Julian Crews was short but precise when commenting on the game.

“Our kids are playing very good baseball at present,” said Crews. “Our hitting is coming around, and we’re clicking on all cylinders. I still see some things we need to work on that will make us a better baseball team. We’re playing very well at times, but there is always room for improvement.”
Crews would have found it hard to improve on the Longhorns’ first inning. The put seven runs on the board to go up 7-0 after retiring the Vikings in order in the top half.

Josh Austin got things started with an RBI single scoring Seth Conder who had walked. Zack Parson delivered a run-scoring base hit bringing home Ethan Icenhour who had singled.

The Longhorns were able to bat around with Icenhour logging two hits in the inning. They also took advantage of some walks and wild pitches that helped them grab an early advantage.
JCMS extended their lead to 9-0 in the second inning.

Trey Snyder blasted an RBI double scoring Parsons who had gathered his second base hit. Austin picked up his second RBI with a solid single that scored Snyder.

The Longhorns worked hard to make it an official game with the threat of more rain moving in rapidly.
Dalton Brown had a single and Snyder was hit by a pitch. That set the table for Austin and Peyton Pavusek who drove in both runners with RBI base hits that made it 11-0.

Asa Lewis pitched four scoreless innings for Johnson County before giving way to Parsons in the fifth. Lewis fanned six of the 17 batters he faced while allowing only two hits. Parsons got the final two out, one by way of a strikeout.

Austin led the hitting going 2-3 with three RBI’s. Parsons had two hits, and a pair of runs batted in. Icenhour was 2-3 and scored twice. Snyder, Conder, Brown, and Pavusek collected one hit each.

Avery County 000 00 – 0 2 0
Johnson Co. 729 2x – 11 10 2

Cougars cage Horns 11-6

JC’s Josh Tierney (5 )fires a pitch against Sullivan Central. Tierney pitched four strong innings and had a base hit in their 11-6 loss on Monday. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

BLOUNTVILLE—Johnson County dominated for nearly four innings against highly regarded Sullivan Central until a couple of miscues awoke the sleeping giant. The Cougars rallied from a 4-0 deficit to knock off the Longhorns 11-6 on Monday afternoon in Blountville.
The Longhorns appeared ready to take down the second place Cougars until a couple of errors with one out led to four base hits and six unearned runs.

“We had some good starts where we’ve been ahead, but we haven’t been able to keep the lead,” said JCHS’ head coach Pete Pavusek. “You can’t give a good team any outs and expect to win. It’s frustrating because we could have won this one today. All we had to do was make plays.”
Pavusek hit the nail on the head when summing up the game.

The Longhorns had played exceptionally up to the point when the disaster occurred.
Base hits by Shane Greer and Josh Tierney got on the board with two outs in the first inning.
The Longhorns used a single from Stephen Osborne and the speed of Bud Icenhour, who beat out an infield single to go up 3-0 in the second frame. Jonathan Arnold reached on an error and scored before that.

Central had trouble hitting off Johnson County’s Josh Tierney who retired the side in order in the third. The Cougars had only one hit after three innings.

The Horns put one more on the board to go up 4-0 in the top of the fourth. Bud Icenhour came home on a throw down to second after ripping a single to lead off the inning.
Tierney retired the first out in the bottom half, bu

t a couple of critical errors enabled Central to string together four singles that led to six runs.
The Cougars built their advantage at 7-4, but the Longhorns would get back to within one in the sixth.
Two errors and an infield single by Bud Icenhour cut the deficit to 7-6, but Central answered with five more in the bottom half to extend their lead back to 11-6. Two more errors by the Horns resulted in only two of those runs earned.

Tierney pitched four strong innings for the Horns allowing only five hits and zero earned runs. Arnold hurled the final two innings.

Greer and Bud Icenhour had a pair of hits to pace the Longhorns. Pete Pavusek, Arnold, Weston Throop, Osborne and Tierney added one hit each.

Jacob Fields topped the Cougars with three hits. Cade Grayer provided two hits for the winners now 5-1.

The Longhorns (0-2, 0-4) will play Unicoi County at home on Wednesday in a makeup game at 5 pm. They were to play again on Tuesday at home versus the Cougars.
Johnson Co.
120 102 0 – 6 10 4

Sullivan Central
000 605 x – 11 1o 3

Tierney, Arnold (5) and
Pavusek. Sells, Acres (7) and Mumpower.
WP—Sells, LP—Tierney

Johnson County wins Cyclones Classic

Johnson County won the junior varsity tournament held at Elizabethton High School last Saturday. They defeated David Crockett, Happy Valley, and the Lady Cyclones to capture the first place trophy. Front row, L-R: Tiffany Price, Abby Cornett, Jenna Horner, Lindsey Wills and Natalie Winters. Back row, L-R: Alexis Hendley, Hannah Brooks, Emmy Miller, Diamond Dibble, Maddie Edington, Cassidy Lakatos and Bella Miller

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

ELIZABETHTON—You don’t need a crystal ball to see that the future looks bright for the Lady Longhorns’ softball team. Johnson County gave fans a glimpse of that last weekend by winning the Cyclone Classic Junior Varsity Tournament played at Elizabethton High School.
The Lady Longhorns currently have only 13 players in the softball program, and many of them start on the varsity team.

Head coach Angela Blevins has only one senior, so eight to nine underclassmen are pulling double time on both squads. Currently three freshmen, six sophomores a junior and senior are logging most of the varsity minutes in addition to playing junior varsity games.
The lineup started to play dividends during the Cyclone Classic where the team registered wins over David Crockett, Elizabethton, and Happy Valley before losing a meaningless game to Cloudland after the outcome had already been decided.

Blevins was ecstatic about her team’s play during the event.

“I thought that Hannah Brooks pitched outstanding in two of our wins and we played well defensively the whole time,” said Blevins. “We got timely hits when we needed them because they walked Hannah almost every time that she batted. Natalie had three big doubles, and all of them came with the bases loaded, and several others stepped up and played well. This was a good thing to build on for our softball program. Even though most of them play varsity we still probably have the youngest team in the conference.”

Johnson County 9
David Crockett 3

The Longhorns banged out nine hits and rode the superior pitching of Brooks to knock off the Pioneers in convincing fashion. The crafty righty allowed only three hits while picking up the victory.
Natalie Winters broke the game open with a towering base loaded double late in the game that gave them a six-run cushion.

Abby Cornett and Alexis Headley banged out two hits apiece, and each scored twice to lead the offense. Lindsey Wills, Maddie Edington, Emmy Miller, Bella Miller and Winters totaled one apiece.
A two-run homer accounted for most of Crockett’s total.

Johnson County 8
Elizabethton 2
Hannah Brooks was a force on the mound for the second game in a row, scattering seven hits and struck out six while picking up the victory.
Winters once again provided the knockout punch by crushing a three-run double after Brooks was walked three times.

Emmy Miller had a big day going 2-3 against the Cyclones with two runs scored. Alexis Headley also went 2-3 with an RBI. Abby Cornett scored a pair of runs and went 1-2 as did Lindsey Wills. Cassidy Lakatos contributed a base hit.

“They kept walking Hannah, but we were able to drive her in each time they did,” said Blevins. “We got hits when we needed to, and I thought we made several good plays in the field. This was the key game we needed if we were to have a chance at winning the tournament.”

Johnson County 12
Happy Valley 5

The third game was like watching the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. The pitchers kept walking Hannah Brooks, and Natalie Winters kept belted three-run doubles.
Winters was 2-3 with four RBI’s including her third bases-loaded two-bagger that broke the game open.

Lindsey Wills was 1-1 with two runs scored while Emmy Miller went 1-2 and scored twice. The trio of Emmy Miller, Maddie Edington and Diamond Dibble each had a hit and scored. Brooks scored three runs after being walked three times.

The Longhorns dropped a meaningless game to Cloudland in their final contest as Blevins emptied the bench after the Horns were declared the tournament winner in the round-robin event after three straight victories.

Lady Longhorns bombard Bulldogs 15-0

Bella Miller

JC’s Bella Miller slides into third base safely against Hampton. Miller had a double and a triple in the Longhorns 15-0 win. Photos by Time Chambers

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County’s short trip across the Butler Bridge and into Hampton would result in their first victory of the season on Monday. The Longhorns scored in all five innings racking up a 15-0 win in non-conference action.

The Horns scored a solo run in the first inning before erupting for five more in the second to go up 6-0. JCHS’ head coach Angela Blevins was happy that her team took care of business early.

“We wanted to be aggressive early to score, and we had a good second inning,” said Blevins. “Hannah had the home run that got the game going, but we had a lot of others that hit the ball well too. It was good to get a win after the close loss at Sullivan East. I was hoping we would bounce back after that.”
Johnson County (1-1) went up 1-0 in the first inning. Courtney Brooks led off with a single and later scored on Emmy Miller’s groundout. They followed with a quintet of runs in the second frame.
Maddie Edington got things going with a single then moved the third on Cassidy Lakatos sac bunt and throwing an error. Bella Miller’s two-bagger would plate the first run, and Lindsey Wills brought home another with a sacrifice fly.

Hannah Brooks continued her power hitting surge by belting a three-run line drive homer over the left field fence giving the Horns a 6-0 advantage.

Brooks not only did it with the bat but she handcuffed the Bulldogs on the mound. Sara Orr’s single in the fourth was the only blemish allowed the sizzling sophomore who fanned five in as many innings.
Bella Miller continued her good game with a triple that scored Lakatos in the third. She later came home on a wild pitch to make it 8-0.

The Lady Longhorns scored six times over the next two innings by collecting three runs in each frame.
Natalie Winters drove in one with a single in the fourth as did Lakatos. Courtney Brooks singled and scored her third run of the game in the fifth as the Lady Bulldogs uncorked three wild pitches in the inning.

Brooks led the Longhorns at the plate going 3-4 with three runs scored. Hannah Brooks was 2-2 with a 3-run homer and double. Bella Miller was 2-3 with three runs scored and two RBI’s. Natalie Winters scored twice and was 2-4. Lakatos went 1-1 with two runs scored. Emmy Miller had an RBI base hit. Wills drove in a run and Abby Cornett scored twice and reach base four times, three after getting hit by a pitch and a walk.

Johnson Co. 152 33 – 15 12 1
Hampton 000 00 – 0 1 1
WP—H Brooks
HR’s—JC (H. Brooks, 3-run)

JCMS 7th Grade baseball team

Front row, L-R: Riley Tester, Tanner Marshall, Andrew Reece and Elijah Henson, 2nd row, L-R: Donnie Curd, Lucas Adams, Shawn Forrester, Dalton Adams, Jacob Barnes, Dominic Kelly and Michael Greever. Back Row: Coaches Chris Dunbar and Mike Hensley. The team will play at Ashe County and Vance Junior High this week.

Junior High Longhorns win marathon game

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

Baseball fans were in desperate need of padded cushions that sat through the Junior High Longhorns and Unaka baseball game on Friday.
Johnson County ripped the cover off the baseball that produced two-dozen runs plus four in a 28-17 slugfest over the Rangers at Claude Holsclaw Field.
The game lasted over four hours as 12 total pitches were used in the game including five by the Longhorns. Head coach Julian Crews said it was a first for him.
“I’ve never had a game last that long in all the years that I have coached,” said Crews. “The strike zone was small, and sometimes that’s not a good thing for kids this age. To our credit, we hit the ball well, and I thought Ethan Icenhour threw three good innings. It’s a conference road win, so that’s always a good thing.”
Neither team score in the first two innings but things got wild and crazy after that.
The Longhorns tallied five runs in the third inning with the help of a two-run single by Josh Austin and an RBI base hit from Dalton Brown.
The Rangers answered with seven runs in the bottom half to go up 7-5.
The Longhorns came out stroking the baseball in the fourth inning by amassing 11 runs in the frame.
Back to back RBI doubles by Asa Lewis, Zack Parsons and Brown highlighted the
scoring spree. Trey Snyder, Payton Pavusek, and Austin had run-scoring singles. Lewis rang up two base hits in the inning.
The Longhorns held a 17-10 lead going into the final inning when things ultimately got out of hand. They scored 11 more in their final at-bat to go up 28-10.
Seth Conder blasted an RBI double while Brown picked up an RBI two-bagger. Graham Reece and Icenhour each drove in a run with singles.
Unaka scored seven times in their final at-bat but came up short at the end.
Brown had a mammoth game going 5-for-6 with five RBI’s. Lewis added three base hits and four runs batted in. Austin, Snyder, Parsons, and Icenhour all swatted two hits apiece. Reece, Pavusek and Isaiah Crud provided one hit apiece.
Landon Ramsey tallied three base hits to lead the Rangers.
The Longhorns will play Jonesborough on Thursday at Persimmons Ridge Park and home on Friday versus Unaka.

Johnson Co. 005 (11) 01 (11) – 28 19 3
Unaka 007 201 7
—17 8 7
WP—Ethan Icenhour

Lady Longhorns fall to Sullivan East 4-3

JC’s Courtney Brooks (18) strikes out the third out in the sixth inning against East. Brooks pitched eight strong innings in the Longhorns 4-3 loss. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

BLUFF CITY—Johnson County was close to pulling off a huge upset before a late rally by Sullivan East spoiled their bid.
The Patriots scored an unearned run in the eighth inning to earn a dramatic 4-3 victory. It came after pitcher Courtney Brooks had retired the first two batters in the inning. Cayden Bawgus drew a walk then Autumn Gobble followed with a soft liner to right that was misplayed allowed Bawgus to score the game-winning run from first.
“I felt like we made some good pitches to the batter before, but they tightened the zone up considerable late in the game,” said Johnson County’s head coach Angela Blevins. “You can’t throw everything down the middle against a good hitting team like East. I was proud of our kids for the way they battled back after falling behind because they could have just laid down and given up but they didn’t. We clawed back in the game and played some pretty good ball from the third inning till the end. We haven’t been outside much lately because of the weather, but our kids fought past that. We’re not happy with the loss, but I thought our girls stepped up and played well.”
East scored solo runs in the first two innings to jump on top 2-0.
Jana White stroked an RBI double in the first inning while Samantha Smith belted a solo home run in the second.
Johnson County battled back to tie the game in the fourth inning by using the long ball. Lindsey Wills led off with a single then scored on a towering home run off the bat of Hannah Brooks.
It appeared as if they were ready to pull off the upset when they scored in the seventh inning to go up 3-2.
Abby Cornett led off with a single and later scored on freshman Emmy Miller’s base hit that put the wheels in motion.
East was able to stall their bid by etching out a run via way of the small ball game. White walked then moved to third on Chelsie Sams’ infield single. Kaylee Wolfe’s sacrifice fly allowed White to come home after the throw from left field was off line that made it 3-3.
The Longhorns had their chance in the eighth inning but couldn’t take advantage of Bella Miller’s leadoff single. Two sac bunts moved her to third, but Wolfe was able to snare a line drive up the middle by Courtney Brooks for the third out.
Courtney Brooks pitched well for the Longhorns
while going the distance.
Wolfe was credited with the win after pitching a complete game.
Hannah Brooks went 2-for-3 to lead the Longhorns. Cornett and Miller were 2-for-4 apiece. Courtney Brooks, Wills, Bella Miller and Natalie Winters added one hit apiece.
White had a pair of base hits to lead the Patriots.

Johnson County 000 200 10 — 3 10 1
Sullivan East 110 000 11 — 4 9 2
JC: C. Brooks and E. Miller. SE: Wolfe and Sams.
WP—Wolfe, LP: C. Brooks
HR—JC (H. Brooks) SE Smith

Blue Devils stave off Longhorns 5-2

JCHS’ Jayden Joiner records a strikeout for the Longhorns to get out of jam in the fifth inning. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

ERWIN—Missed opportunities at the plate and a costly error left Johnson County thinking “if only we had” on Friday afternoon at Baxter Field. The young Longhorns battled highly regarded Unicoi County down to the wire before falling 5-2 in their season opener.
The Blue Devils scored a solo run each in the first two innings and added two more in the third on a costly error with two outs.
The Longhorns appeared ready to escape a major jam when Ben Howard made a nice play at second base, but his throw got mishandled at first allowing the Blue Devils to score two unearned runs.
The Longhorns had two runners on in the second and third innings but couldn’t push anything across the plate. That finally changed during the fourth.
Singles by Jayden Joiner and Shane Greer led to Weston Throop and Johnny Arnold scoring who had walked and reached on an error.
Unicoi’s reliever, Clay Simpson was able to escape the inning without further damage. The 6’7 Carson Newman signee pitched strong over the next two frames to preserve the win.
Caleb Wilson combined with Simpson for ten strikeouts in the game. Wilson earned the win while Simpson got the saved.
Hunter Higgins went 2-for-4 to lead the Blue Devils at the plate.
Josh Tierney, Greer and Joiner provided one hit each of the Longhorns.
Josh Tierney started on the mound for the Longhorns before being relieved by Jayden Joiner in the third.
Joiner pitched four strong innings allowing no earned runs while giving his team a chance to win. The battery kept the Blue Devils silent on the base paths by keeping runners from getting
into scoring position. Howard, Bud Icenhour and freshman Stacy Greer each had a web gem defensive play in the game.
“I thought we should have won the game,” said Johnson County’s legendary coach Pete Pavusek. “We had several opportunities to score but couldn’t get the key hit when we needed to. Our pitchers threw well but you have to make plays in the field, and unfortunately, we made a crucial error that prevented the game from being tied. Overall I was pleased with the way our young team battled.”

Tuelle heads up All Johnson-Carter Dandy Dozen

Shayanne Tuelle Hampton High School Player of the Year 1st Team

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

Unaka wears the cloak as being the top girl basketball team in 2017-18 advancing to the semifinals of the state tournament before losing to Summertown. It was their first appearance since 2004 and both times head Coach Kenneth Chambers has been at the helm.
It’s only fitting that Coach Chambers guides the Tomahawk’s All Johnson / Carter County Dandy Dozen squad as coach of the year after compiling a 29-11 record.
The player of the year has already signed to play at Division 1 school Campbell University.
Hampton’s standout guard Shayanne Tuelle gathered all the top votes while earning player of the year with Unaka’s Myah Parlier finishing second.
Tuelle averaged 19.7 points, six rebounds and five assists per game to complete her impressive resume.
Parlier will spearhead the first team after averaging 14 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. She is joined on the first unit by teammate Lexi Garland who logged 12 points, four steals and five assists per contest helping the Lady Rangers to their banner season.
Rounding out the first team are Cloudland’s Trinity Vines, Elizabethton’s Kayden Shell and Happy Valley’s Adrienne Henegar.
Vines, a junior led the Highlanders in scoring and rebounding with a 12.5 and 7.4 average. Shell provided the Lady Cyclones with 12 points, seven assists and four steals per contest.
Henegar tallied 16 points per game and was the area’s top three-point shooter.
Unaka’s Sarah Tipton heads up the second team which had four players tie for the final three spots.
Tipton tallied 11 points, five rebounds and 3.7 steals per game. Cloudland’s Stacia Wilson collects a spot as well after scoring 11.7 points per game along with Elizabethton’s Destiny Little, 10 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.
Hampton’s Stephanie Campbell, Happy Valley’s Kat Roberts and Johnson County’s Courtney Brooks and Taylor Parsons tied for the final three spots, but each made the team instead of omitting one by way of a tiebreaker.
Campbell provided the Bulldogs with 11 points per contest and six rebounds. Roberts averaged 10.6 points, six rebounds and three assists per game.
Brooks and Parsons averaged nine points per game on a team where the scoring was very balanced. Each was instrumenta helping Johnson County compile wins over Elizabethton, Hampton, and Happy Valley twice.
Parsons grabbed 10.1 rebounds per game and averaged three blocked shots and three steals. Brooks contributed five rebounds and three assists per contest.
Johnson County’s Sadie Stout earned honors as our most promising underclassman. She finished the year averaging 8 points, six rebounds and three steals per contest outdistancing teammate Emmy Miller and Cloudland’s Jasmine Birchfield.

Junior Longhorns maul Lady Warriors 19-1

JCMS’ Haley Cox #14 slides into third base with an RBI triple. The junior Longhorns rolled over Happy Valley 19-1.

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County wore the big pants on Friday as the middle school softball team came decked out in their hitting britches. The junior Lady Longhorns banged out 14 hits that led to their 19-1 victory over Happy Valley on Bob Kirksey Field.
Johnson County sent 13 batters to the plate in the
first inning that produced
nine runs. They did one
better in the second inning by adding ten more to the
“We finally got to play after having three games postponed,” said JCMS’ head coach Greg Reece. “It’s frustrating to have only played two games in the middle of March. We got the lead
early and pressed them hard. Our defense played well plus we got good pitching from Autumn Lewis and Hannah Fritts. I liked the fact that our kids were very aggressive running the bases. Happy Valley has a young team,
and Coach Brandon Mottern does a great job with them. They’ll be much better the next time around on their field.
Our kids just came ready to play.”
Especially Jayla Gregg who belted a triple and single in the first inning. Fritts duplicated that same feat in the second frame.
Autumn Lewis set the tone on the mound by striking all six batters over the first two innings. She also went 1-2 at the plate with an RBI.
Gregg and Autumn Shepherd topped the Longhorns with three hits and three RBI’s each. Haley Cox added a pair of hits and two RBI’s. Faith Walsh was 1-1 with two RBI’s while Fritts was 1-1 with three RBI’s. Hailey Rider, Sydni Potter, and Sarah Rider had one apiece and an RBI. Morgan Murwin drove in a run to help the cause.
The Lady Warriors failed to collect a base hit in the game as Lewis and Fritts combined to toss the no-hitter.

Junior Varsity
Johnson County 15
Happy Valley 7
Kristen Day came on in relief to pitch two strong innings that allowed the Lady Longhorns to hold off Happy Valley in the seventh-grade game.
Day allowed no hits or runs while striking out five batters.
Kendyl Kleine, Autumn Shepherd, Amy Gunter and Ashley Anderson scored two runs each and went 1-1 to lead the Longhorns.
Johnson County scored ten times in the first inning to set the tone.

Athletes honored on Senior Night

The 2017-18 senior class has been a special one at Johnson County, and eleven were honored on senior night in their basketball game versus Sullivan South. The seniors are pictured below with their parents, family members and
departing gift presented to them by the coaches, players and cheerleading squad members. Photos by Tim Chambers

JCMS falls to Lady Cyclones 6-3

JCMS’ Faith Walsh belts a 2-run triple against TAD. Walsh had two hits, and two RBI’s in a 6-3 loss. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County put up a great fight. Unfortunately,
one bad inning would do them in.
T.A. Dugger broke open a close game with three runs in the fourth that led to their 6-3 win in a game played at Elizabethton High School on Thursday.
The Longhorns scored twice in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Jayla Gregg led off with a double and scored on Faith Walsh’s triple. Morgan Murwin added an RBI single, but the Cyclones would bounce back and score two in the bottom half.
Maddie O’Quinn’s triple scored Cheyenne Poiroux and Kennedy Harris who each had singled.
The game stayed that way until the third inning when the Cyclones took the lead for good. Molly Guinn slapped a two-run single while Chloe Force drove in one with a groundout.
Gregg helped the Horns score their final run by
stealing second, third and home after slapping a single. Both teams played well throughout the game with the Cyclones having just enough in the tank to pull out the victory.
Gregg led the Longhorns with three hits while Walsh added a pair. Haley Cox, Hailey Rider and Kristen Day added on hit apiece.
Guinn, Harris, and Holtsclaw collected two hits each for T.A. Dugger.
The junior varsity dropped a 9-7 contest to the Cyclones.
Maddi Furchess, Autumn Shepherd, and Aubrie Baird had two hits and two RBI’s each for Johnson County. Audrey Savery and Kendyl Kleine provided one each.
JCMS head coach Greg Reece summed up the game.
“It was your typical opening game with some good and bad,” said Reece. It’s something that we have to learn from. I was a little too aggressive on the bases, but we had chances to bring runners in but didn’t.”
Reece added, Sometimes there are tradeoffs between putting the best defense
in the field and having hitters to score runs. As our pitching rotation gets settled a little more, we will be able to
do that.”

JCMS’ Sarah Rider is tagged out at second base on a bang-bang play. The Longhorns fell 6-3 in their season opener. Photo by Tim Chambers