JOHNSON CITY—The Lady Longhorns took to the softball diamond over the weekend and pulled out their first two wins of the seasons. They earned a third-place finish in the bronze division of the East Tennessee Classic by knocking off Chuckey-Doak 5-4 in the consolation game. They also defeated Class A powerhouse Unaka 10-9 on Friday by overcoming a five-run deficit in the last inning to tie the game and then win it in the following frame by way of the international rule.
The Longhorns played in a four-team pool, and their pool was far superior to any of the other three. The three teams they were paired with, Daniel Boone, Knox Farragut, and Unaka all won their respective divisions.
Boone won the overall gold division as the tourney’s best team defeating Farragut 1-0 who won the silver division. Unaka claimed the white bracket after their loss to Johnson County
The Horns were shut out by Boone and Farragut but found their offense in games versus Unaka, Sullivan South and Chuckey-Doak.
Johnson County 10
The Longhorns trailed 9-4 going into the last inning but scored five runs to tie the game that sent it into extra innings.
RBI singles by Natalie Winters and Alexis Hendley got Johnson County on the board in the second inning giving them a 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Rangers scored three in the third to go up 3-2, but the Horns would tie the game in the bottom half. Hannah Brooks crushed a mammoth home run over the left centerfield fence that pulled them even at 3-3.
The Rangers used a pair of two-run doubles from Kendall Bare and Lilly Kiser in the fourth to go up 8-3. Lindsey Wills singled and scored in the bottom half to cut the deficit in half at 8-4.
The Longhorns trailed by five going into their final at-bat but rallied with one out to pull even.
Bella Miller singled then scored on the double off the bat of Tiffany Price. Winters helped the cause with an RBI single and Wills crushed a line drive that got misplayed in right field that scored another.
The Horns would tie the game on a 2-run double off the bat of Emmy Miller that made it 9-9.
The final inning would be played under the international rule with each team starting with a runner at second.
Brooks recorded a big strikeout on the mound for Johnson County that left a Lady Ranger stranded at third base.
The Longhorns would win the game in the bottom half thanks to a leadoff double by Maddi Edington scoring Cassidy Lakatos with the game winner.
Winters went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s to lead the Longhorns. Emmy Miller, Edington, and Lakatos were 2-for-4 each with an RBI and run scored. Price was 1-for-1 with an RBI and run scored. Brooks was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, while Wills had a base hit and scored twice as did Bella Miller. Alexis Hendley was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Brooks went the distance on the mound to earn with a win. She struck out six and allowed only two walks. Only five of Unaka’s runs were earned.
Bare and Sadie Shoun had a pair of hits apiece to lead the Rangers.
It was the first win as a high school head coach for Johnson County’s Greg Reece. He touched on his team’s resilience after being paired in the same pool with heavyweights Daniel Boone and Knox Farragut.
“The win over Unaka was important,” said Reece. “We needed that after the scheduled we had. We started hitting the ball better, and we regained some confidence. I’m proud of our kids for the way they battled back.”
Johnson County 5
The weary Longhorns departed Wing Deer Park on Saturday with a win in their final game of the tournament to claim third place in the bronze division.
A double by Emmy Miller in the first inning scored Natalie Winters who had singled to lead off the game for a 1-0 advantage. Hannah Brooks made it 2-0 by driving in Wills from third.
The Lady Black Knights scored three times in the fifth inning to go up 4-2, but the Horns would rally to win the game in their final at-bat in dramatic fashion.
Emmy Miller blasted a double in the fifth to tie the game when Hannah Brooks won it with an RBI single.
Emmy Miller had a monster game going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored. Winters scored a pair of runs and went 1-for-3. Brooks was 1-for-3 with two RBI’s. Bella Miller and Abby Cornett had a base hit apiece, and Lindsey Wills drove in a run.
Brooks struck out 11 batters to earn the win on the mound for Johnson County.
Sullivan South 8
Johnson County 5
Laura Dade’s three-run homer in the fifth inning broke a 5-5 tie allowing South to reach the championship game of the bronze division in the East Tennessee Classic.
Hannah Brooks had put Johnson County in front in the top half with a two-run homer, her second one in the tournament. She was 2-for-3 with two RBI’s to lead the Horns. Emmy Miller and Bella Miller were 2-for-3 each with a run scored. Natalie Winters, Lindsey Wills, and Maddi Edington all had a base hit and scored.
Reece summed up his team’s play on Saturday.
“We were pretty much exhausted by the end of the
day on Saturday, and it showed. We started off well against Chuckey-Doak, but could not do much offensively until we went to the short game. Hannah Brooks really gutted this one out and pitched great. We played two great teams in Farragut and Boone and held our won in the game with South. The tournament was a challenge for us against some very impressive teams.”
Junior Varsity Results
The junior varsity played well and finished 1-2 in the tournament. They defeated Science Hill 8-6 with the help of a two-run homer off the bat of freshman Jayla Gregg. They lost to Knox Farragut 8-5 and were defeated by Dobyns-Bennett 5-4.
Haley Cox had three hits in the loss to D-B. Faith Walsh, Tiffany Price, Sydni Potter, Kirsten Day and Sarah Rider added a base hit apiece. Hailey Rider pitched well while going the distance recording six strikeouts.
“We played eight freshmen in the JV tournament,” said Reece. “Hailey Rider stood out on the mound. Kirsten Day and Morgan Murwin also pitched well.”