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Despite loss, Coach Smith pleased with Lady Longhorns' performance

The Lady Longhorns had their first real challenge of the year against the Cherokee Lady Chiefs in their first official game at home. Even though the game resulted in a one run loss for Johnson County, Coach Dana Smith still seemed well pleased with her team’s ability to fight back and handle the pressure that a school like Cherokee can deliver. “We knew coming into it that Cherokee was a good team, but we don’t like to shy away from anybody. I just wish that the way we fought back and came back in that game that we could have pushed it on over the edge, but we learned a lot. I learned a lot. I learned what my players were capable of at that point and at that pressure, who folded and who stepped up. It taught me that aspect of it because it was a high pressure game and up to this point we haven’t been in a high pressure game,” she said.
This game was all about the halfway point, with Cherokee carrying the first four innings and Johnson County the last three. Neither team was able to simply break away, and the Lady Longhorns strong defense helped hold back and keep the score lower than it could have been. Unfortunately, the real problem in the initial innings was a lack of hitting.
“From the very beginning we weren’t hitting,” said Smith. “We just weren’t hitting very well. We didn’t adjust to what we needed to adjust to. Then when we did start hitting we started having things happen. Haley Miller hit extremely well. She went 3 for 4 and with an RBI, but we left too many people on base. We left the bases loaded twice. We had people in scoring positions twice with no outs. Then we had bases loaded with one out and didn’t score. Offensively that is not a good thing to have. You want to be able to put the ball in play and make the other team make the play and we didn’t do that.”
Despite starting off slow there were a few high points to note, primarily a hit in the first inning that gave Haley Miller first, before catching second off a hit by Ashley Arnold. Although neither the first or second innings resulted in a run, there was finally a pick up in the third. Both the fourth and fifth innings went without even taking first base, but a successful sixth resulted in a two run gain that put the score at 3-5.
For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.