By: Matt Hill
The JCHS Baseball Team could have folded the towel after losing game one of a doubleheader with Sullivan North last Tuesday, but instead played like a team that really is turning the corner.
The Longhorns lost game one of a doubleheader by a score of 7-6, but rebounded nicely to win 16-4 over the Raiders in Kingsport.
The Longhorns received a solid effort on the mound from Sammy Hampton in game two and the bats were clicking in a big way.
Eight different batters recorded hits for JCHS and everyone contributed.
The Longhorns scored 10 big runs in the fifth inning and then went on to end in the game with the mercy rule.
They were running a little low on pitching and I think we were a little frustrated from game one, JCHS head coach Pete Pavusek said. It was close first few innings and we busted loose.
Hampton added three hits as did Mark Jennings. Sawyer Ward, Austin Humphrey, Harley Reece and Jacob Henson had two and Danny Herman and Ryan Mahala each tallied one.
The Longhorns hit well last year, but have really stepped it up a notch this season.
The boys have really worked hard on a lot of things and Coach Nicholas Perkins has really helped their hitting and theyve made a lot of changes and a lot of improvement. I wish we were a little more selective as we get excited to swing the bat and swing at some bad pitches, but as far as our overall hitting weve made a lot of improvements from last year.
In game one, Pavusek was pleased with Mark Jennings and the way he threw against the Raiders.
He pitched well enough to win, but we had a few base running mistakes and close calls, Pavusek said. We kind of let him down.
The Longhorns once again had eight different players get hits, with Harley Reece going three-for-four, Austin Humphrey going 2-for-3 and Danny Herman, Sammy Hampton, Jacob Henson, Judd Hammons, Mark Jennings and Sawyer Ward finishing with one hit each.
We just didnt pull it off, Pavusek said. Its the game of baseball. Sometimes in a game of inches you come up short, but we redeemed ourselves the second game.
JCHS also wasnt intimidated that North defeated Unicoi County earlier in the season. Instead the Longhorns played like they belonged.
I think we left Kingsport Tuesday night knowing we were the better team, Pavusek said. We have them one more time and Im sure well see them in the District Tournament.
With a full JV schedule to go along with the varsity success, the JCHS Baseball program is one that looks like its on the way up.
Pavusek just expects things to continue to get better.
I think its doing well and its always been something Ive been proud and I hope other people will too, Pavusek said.
The Longhorns are at Sullivan Central Thursday and then travel to Unicoi County on Monday.