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Highlanders unable to gain ground in Johnson County

Thursday night was the Longhorn’s senior night with a game that could not have gone any better. Facing the visiting Cloudland Highlanders in a whopping 24-0 shutout, the game was a chance for every player in the line up to gain some experience and enjoy a last home game before jumping into the first rounds of the district tournament. Seniors Andy Stout and Bobby Taylor took to the mound for the Longhorns, striking out nine batters between them. Taylor ended up pitching four innings of the mercy-ruled bout, throwing out 45 strikes and the majority of the strikeouts.
Several errors by the Highlander defense along with a strong showing by Johnson County’s batting line gave the Longhorns 22 base hits in just four innings. Some batters, such as Andy Stout, Jacob Henson, Harley Reece, and Chad Hodgkiss were able to make multiple runs in a single inning. Reece in particular put some heat on the ball, gaining his fourth homerun for the season in the third inning. That hit alone earned three RBIs, and by the end of the night every single Johnson County batter had gained at least one run.
The big win aside, Coach Pete Pavusek seemed to be happier about the results for the senior players. “This was great for the seniors, they deserved it. It was easy, relaxing; we hit it hard, and ran the bases. I’m happy for them. I will say that we have been beat in the past. Cloudland has beaten us before on senior night and its not any fun. But tonight we’ll enjoy it; they’ll enjoy it, there are just a lot of good memories. We got everybody in, got everybody a chance to play. Everyone got a chance to contribute, whether it’s a hit, play defense, score a run, pitch, they all got a chance. Bobby did what we needed him to. He went out there and got some good strikes. It was a pretty good night,” he said.
Although the Longhorns made gains in every inning, the first inning started off the slowest with Cloudland making a couple of good catches in the outfield. Daniel Helm was still able to land a big triple that batted in Judd Hammons before taking home on a Cloudland error, but those were the only two runs in that inning.
Although they made little progress around the diamond overall, Cloudland still made three base hits and managed to get to third base twice. There were also a few walks to take first with the best chance at run coming in the fourth inning. With two back-to-back hits, Cloudland was able to put a runner on second and third, but two strikeouts and a catch in right field put that opportunity to rest. In the end, the Highlanders simply were not able to gain ground in Johnson County.