Spirits were high and the weather was perfect as the JCHS baseball team celebrated a very special senior night matchup as the final home game of the season. As they have done for several years, the Cloudland Highlanders were very accommodating in coming to Mountain City to take part in a phenomenal double header that saw Johnson County dominate the field from start to finish.
Although the final results were about what everyone expected the games still served a valuable purpose for both teams, giving the younger pitchers on both sides a chance to try their hand in a live game. As a result, some players took the mound for only one or two innings. Both games ended up shortened on a mercy ruling, but the Highlanders were still able to get a few runs in, especially toward the end of the first game when they managed three strong hits that ultimately resulted in two trips to home plate.
In contrast, the Longhorns put runners across home plate in every inning culminating in a massive 9 run sweep in the third. Several of those advances were spawned by doubles from heavy hitters like senior Blade Hampton. In fact, all five seniors in the lineup were able to land at least one hit that carried over to a run. Especially significant were a couple of memorable drives from Zack Wills, a player who has shown great strength and courage not only on the field but also by overcoming adversity off the field as well.
Program regulars Sam Thomas and Nathaniel Graybeal made a great deal of progress at several points throughout the game, as well as relative newcomer Jake Sutherland, who picked the game back up after returning to Johnson County from New York. All five seniors with their varied backgrounds and diverse talents were able to show a common character that highlighted their place as a part of what makes the Longhorns special.
Its a special day, said an unusually light hearted Coach Pete Pavusek. I like to do something nice for the seniors. We really appreciate Cloudland coming over for us. They do it for us every year. Its just a nice night. These are good guys. Theyre good seniors to have around, not troublemakers. For the most part they try to do the right thing. Theyre good citizens, good guys, fun to be around. You dont ever want to dread being around somebody but sometimes the seniors kind of make it difficult on you, but not this bunch. It was kind of a light day and getting ready to hopefully make a little noise in the tournament. Get ready for tomorrow. Its a whole different level, a whole different speed, and hopefully they will be ready to go come tomorrow night.