JOHNSON CITY—All good things must come to a close, and this was the case on Monday at TVA Credit Union Ball Park. Happy Valley scored three times in the first inning then held on for a 5-2 win over the Longhorns in the District 1-AA baseball tournament.
It wasn’t the ending that the Horns had hoped for after entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed team, with a sweep over the Warriors and Unicoi County during the regular season under their belt.
They lost leading hitter Asa Lewis last week due to a season-ending injury, and they didn’t appear to be in sync over the past couple of games, which resulted in two losses.
Head coach Pete Pavusek summed up the season.
“We had a really good year, but we didn’t finish it out as we wanted,” said Pavusek. “For some reason, we didn’t appear ready to play, but it doesn’t take away from what this group has accomplished. We went 12-10 overall and were picked to finish last in the league, but the kids kept playing hard. We played three freshmen and a lot of sophomores and juniors. We’re proud of our senior players and all they gave. It has definitely been a good year for us.”
Jayden Joiner was one senior who stepped up his game. He came on in the fourth inning and held the Warriors to only one unearned run. He ended the game with three strikeouts and contributed a base hit.
The Horns scored solo runs in the first and fifth innings for their only two runs during the game.
Senior Reese Stout singled in senior Weston Throop who had walked and stole second in the first inning.
Freshman Ethan Icenhour doubled in Ben Howard
who has singled during the fifth.
Happy Valley’s Michael Harrah proved to be too tough for the Longhorn hitters. He ended the game with 12 strikeouts and walked only two batters. Harrah had four hits and pitched out a jam in the fifth after Johnson County had runners at second and third with no outs and failed to get them in.
Howard, Joiner, Stout, and Icenhour had one hit each for the Longhorns. Ben Howard struck out six batters in four innings of work as the Horns’ starting pitcher.
Bart Wilson led the Warriors at the plate, totaling three hits. Jacob Absher added two hits.
The Warriors were beaten by Unicoi County 8-1 following their win over Johnson County.