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Horns lose to Unicoi 0-7

By Jonathan Pleasant
The Longhorns kicked off one of their roughest weeks in baseball against the Unicoi County Blue Devils. With Ryan Mahala on the mound for the Longhorns and senior Austin Green for the Blue Devils, the game started off as a battle between two of the most talented pitchers in the conference. With an equally strong defense backing him up, Mahala shut Unicoi down for three innings before a few critical throws in the fourth allowed the Blue Devils to start stacking the bases.
Regrettably, the Longhorns could not manage to put the bat on the ball, landing only three singles and a walk for the entire game. Mahala was one of those three advances along with Brandon Vannoy and River Cazire. Even heavy hitters like Daniel Helm couldn’t do much with Green, who wound up with 10 strikeouts by the fifth inning.
Johnson County’s fielding held out until the fourth, when a couple of solid Unicoi hits put them in a position to drive in three runners. Now trailing, the Longhorns made another good effort in the fifth, but were still unable to gain ground. Hoping to change the momentum, JCHS coaching staff sent Andy Woods to the mound, but by then the Blue Devils were already in range to add four more runs to their score.
Still floundering on the offense, the closest the Longhorns came to a complete run was late in the game. Following a hit by Brandon Vannoy, Jacob Henson received a walk, before being moved to second on a hit from Cazire. Yet, even with the bases loaded, Johnson County couldn’t pull off the last big push they needed to regain some ground, settling for a disappointing 0-7 loss.
With both teams returning much of their senior lineup, fans were hopeful to get a repeat of the exciting yet narrow victories that Johnson County earned last year. Thankfully, with a lot of games still on the schedule, there is plenty of time for the Longhorns to get back on track.
Final Score: Johnson County 0, Unicoi 7