By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
There’s an old saying among coaches that good defense and good pitching wins softball games. Johnson County had one of the two on Tuesday and not having the other ending up costing them the game.
The Lady Longhorns committed five errors in their 4-1 season opener loss to Unicoi County on Bob Kirksey Field. The Blue Devils managed only one hit off Milligan signee Brianna Snyder who went the distance.
Johnson County’s manager Dana Smith was frustrated after the contest. She knew her kids had a golden opportunity to knock off one of the “Big Dogs.”
“Bri pitched an outstanding game for us on the mound,” said Smith. “We didn’t hit the ball nor did we play good defense to help her. We’ve got to clean some things up on defense and our hitting has got to improve. We didn’t hit the ball at all in the middle of our lineup. We didn’t do the things you have to do to beat a team like Unicoi County.”
Smith was spot on with her assessment.
Ashlie Padgett led off the third inning with a walk and Rylee Stiltner reached base on a one-out error. Another costly error led to the Blue Devils taking a 2-0 lead.
Abby Hensley had an RBI single for their lone base and only earned run hit but the ball got past the left fielder allowing the second runner to score.
Two more infield errors by the Longhorns and a stolen base led to another Unicoi run in the fourth.
Johnson County scored its lone run in the bottom half when Kelsey Duperry singled then moved to third after Michala Cretsinger reached first. But Cretsinger was thrown out trying to steal second allowing Duperry to come home that cut the deficit at 3-1.
The Longhorns got a single by Marley Eggers in the fifth and another base hit by Duperry in the sixth but the middle of the order couldn’t come through.
Unicoi County’s final run came in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Stiltner scoring Padgett who had reached on Johnson County’s fifth error.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.