By Tim Chambers
ROAN MTN — It took one swing of the bat and an outstanding pitching performance for Johnson County to knock off Cloudland on Thursday. Michala Cretsinger blasted a two-run homer in the first inning and Hannah Brooks tossed a masterpiece in their 2-0 road win.
The Longhorns totaled only three hits in the contest and Cretsinger had two of those.
Her two-run shot in the first inning came after a walk to Lindsey Wills.
The Longhorns had a golden opportunity to break the game open in the third after loading the bases with two outs. Eden Fenner led off with a single, Marley Eggers walked and Cretsinger added another base hit but the next batter lined out to end the threat.
Cloudland had its biggest scoring opportunity in their final at-bat when they loaded the bases with only one out.
Hannah Brooks would put out the fire by striking out the next two batters to end the game.
She ended the contest with eight strikeouts while going the distance to earn the shutout victory.
Cretsinger had two hits and the two-run homer in addition to a couple of outstanding defensive plays as shortstop for the Horns. Senior teammate Eden Fenner had the other Johnson County hit.
Birchfield retired 12 of the 13 Longhorns she faced over the final four innings for the Highlanders.
“Hannah pitched a great game and we played very well defensively,” said JCHS’ head coach Angela Blevins. “Michala made a couple of big plays at short and had the home run in the first that was huge. I’m pleased with the fact that we won, but we’ve got to hit the ball better than we did today. We had a chance to score more a couple of times but couldn’t come up with a two-out hit. You can’t beat some of the good teams in our conference when you score only two runs like today.”