By Matt Hill
In the seventh inning of Sunday nights District 1-AA Tournament Baseball game between JCHS and Elizabethton, a groundhog came on to the field running around all over the place.
But unlike a slew of JCHS base runners, the groundhog would not be left stranded.
The Longhorns left the bases loaded three times in a 9-5 loss to Elizabethton that ended the season for JCHS.
JCHS left the bases loaded three times and left two runners on once.
Overall, JCHS stranded 12 runners.
It was tough to leave the bases loaded three times, JCHS head coach Pete Pavusek said.
Errors hurt JCHS early as the Cyclones scored two runs in the bottom of the first without getting a hit off pitcher Cody Greer.
The Longhorns bounced back in the top of the second when Austin Humphrey scored on an error by the shortstop.
Down 2-1, the Cyclones exploded for four runs in the bottom of the second.
A key play happened on a questionable call in the bottom of the second when with two on, first baseman Tyler Fenner fielded a throw and appeared to get Taylor Lanthorn, but the umpire said Fenner was off the bag.
Following the play, Jordan Hinshaw tripled in those three runs to give Elizabethton a 5-1 advantage.
Jake Davis went on to single in Hinshaw to make it a 6-1 Cyclone edge
However, the never say die Longhorns responded.
Mark Jennings singled in Cody Greer in the top of the third to bring the contest to a 6-2 game, then Danny Herman came to the plate and belted one that landed on the other end of the football field to cut the Elizabethton lead to 6-5.
They gave it their all, Pavusek said. Theyve been hard at it all year.
The Cyclones though were too tough as they shut down JCHS the rest of the way and scored three more runs, including a home run by Zack Boles.
Cody Greer had three singles to lead JCHS while Sawyer Ward, Eric Cullop, Mark Jennings and Danny Herman had two.
(District 1-AA Tournament)
Happy Valley 6
Sullivan North 0
For five innings, the Longhorns and Warriors had a classic pitchers duel going on.
Then in the sixth, a week of baseball caught up with JCHS.
The Longhorns gave up six run in the sixth as tired arms took over and the Longhorns went into the losers bracket.
Sammy Hampton threw a gem for three innings, then was able to keep runners on base in the fourth and fifth,
The sixth was a different story as Hampton walked four of the first five batters he faced and when Scotty Simerly was walked, the Warriors had a 1-0 lead.
Mark Jennings came in and he had a tough go of it as the Warriors began to hit and hit well.
The Longhorns also stranded ten runners on the night.
Sawyer Ward, Zack Hayworth, Tyler Fenner and Danny Herman all had a hit apiece
LONGHORNS CELEBRATE SENIOR NIGHT WITH WIN OVER HAMPTON
The Longhorns defeated Hampton 14-4 on Senior Night Thursday in the final home game for five seniors.
JCHS used a sophomore, Andy Stout, on the mound and he earned the win.
In his first varsity start, Stout gave up seven hits, four runs and struck out five.
Zack Hayworth went two-for-two with a double and he scored three runs.
The highlight of the game might have been James Reece when the senior knocked in three runs on a double to right field.
It was a great night for seniors like Hayworth, Reece, Tyler Fenner, Cody Greer and Eric Cullop.
Though they may not have put up a huge number of wins, they did leave their mark on the program.
This senior class is a special group of young men, Perkins said. Their record is no indication of the talent they have. More than being good ball players, theyre even better people.
The behavior of this group has made Perkins really proud.
Theyre a first class group of citizens, he said. Theyre a yes sir, no sir group that have been raised well with good parents. Theyre a classy group of young men that are going to be successful in life.
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