By Tim Chambers
KINGSPORT— A golden opportunity to get a first round win in the District 1-AA softball tournament fell through the cracks for Johnson County on Thursday. And so did a masterful pitching performance by senior standout Brianna Snyder.
The Longhorns left 11 runners stranded in a 1-0 loss to Happy Valley at Sullivan South. Twice they had the bases loaded and another time had runners at second and third.
It was frustrating to watch for head coach Dana Smith. The Horns have struggled scoring runs in most of their conference games but today they took it to extremes.
A critical base running blunder and choosing not to sacrifice a runner over at one point with a runner at second would come back to bite them. So would Happy Valley’s ability to score the game’s only run without a base hit.
“It’s frustrating when you load the bases twice and don’t score,” said Smith. “And then we walked Roberts and she scores the only run of the game on a free ride. Bri only allowed two hits and she pitched a great game. That one wild pitch was her only mistake. Not hitting the ball really frustrated me. There was no excuse for us not to have scored some runs in that game.”
It all started when they loaded the bases in the first inning with two outs and couldn’t score. Courtney Brooks singled, followed by a walk to Brianna Snyder, and Marley Eggers was hit by a pitch.
It was nearly a carbon copy in the third.
Michala Cretsinger walked, followed by back-to-back singles by Snyder and Eggers. But each time Warriors’ pitcher Kaylee Jennings was able to work out of the jam by getting a groundball out and a lazy fly to the infield.
Happy Valley scored the game’s only run in the third.
Kaitlyn Roberts walked, stole second and moved to third on a fly ball out to right. She would score easily on a wild pitch before Snyder could retire the final out.
Eden Fenner singled in Johnson County’s fourth but failed to move up. They had another chance to produce a run in the fifth but came up empty.
Courtney Brooks led off with a single, then took second on a wild pitch. Their inability to bunt her over to third proved costly after Snyder flew out to deep center with one out.
And their inability to do the little things kept mounting.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.