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JCHS Baseball sweeps Hampton; Off to 11-3 start to season

If people didn't know Sawyer Ward was one of the area's top baseball players, Hampton sure did find out in a doubleheader against the Bulldogs on Friday evening.
In two games, Ward had a home run and two triples and also earned the win as a pitcher as the Longhorns defeated Hampton 10-0 and 18-2 at Longhorn Field.
In game one Ward slammed a three run homer to put the game out of reach.
Ward was not the only one who hit the longball in the game as in the first inning Harley Reece hit his second home run of the game, a three-run shot that gave the Longhorns a 4-0.
All the hot Longhorn bats gave Ward a cushion on the mound as he allowed only three hits and no walks.
In game two, Ward had three triples, including one where he used his electrifying speed to get to third.
Ward as of Friday night had three home runs and 23 RBIs on the season, more than any Longhorn player had all of last year.
“I saw it really well,” Ward said. I've taken everything Coach Perkins has taught me and have gotten on fire this year. I hope I can keep it up the rest of the year.”
Ward is now considered one of the elite players in Northeast Tennessee and it's something he wants to continue to be known for.
“It feels great,” Ward said. “I've been working as hard as I can and I feel I've put in the work to try to be the best I can be. I think hitting in the three spot has been big.”
The task at hand Friday night was defeating an out-manned Hampton team and the Longhorns didn't take the Bulldogs lightly.
“We knew we had to come out and take it to them,” Ward said.
Andy Stout made his season debut pitching and gave up just four hits and two earned runs to get the win.
“I just needed to hit the strike zone,” Stout said. “It's easier when you have a big lead.”
In game two, Mark Jennings went 4-for-4, Matthew Myers was 1-for-1, Sammy Hampton was 2-for-2, Andy Stout was 2-for-3, Jacob Henson was 2-for-3, Judd Hammons was 2-for-3, Sawyer Ward was 2-for-3, Austin Humphrey was 2-for-4, Harley Reece was 1-for-2 and Ryan Smith was 1-for-2.
In game one, Bobby Taylor and Daniel Helm were both 1-for-1, Mark Jennings was 3-for-3, Austin Humphrey and Sawyer Ward were 2-for-3, Judd Hammons and Sammy Hampton were 1-for-2 and Harley Reece and Jacob Henson were 1-for-3.
The Longhorns are at Cloudland Thursday and at East on Friday before hosting Happy Valley Monday.
Monday's Game
Sullivan North 1
The Longhorns earned another big win and ran their record to 11-3 following a 4-1 triumph over Sullivan North.
Mark Jennings pitched another outstanding game, going the distance while giving up just four hits and four walks.
It was a total team effort and the Longhorns are happy to be the talk of the Three Rivers Conference right now.
“North is 11-3 and two of its losses are against us,” JCHS head coach Pete Pavusek said. “It's a good win for us. You have to have good defense, strong pitching and timely hitting and you'll win a lot of games.
Sawyer Ward had another big day for the Longhorns, going 2-for-3 on the afternoon with a double.
“He's having a great season,” Pavusek said. “He had two more RBIs and has 25 in 11 games. He's a great player and plays wherever we need him too.”
Jennings is also having a great year and he came up big on Monday against the Raiders.
“Mark is as tough as nails,” Pavusek said. “You usually get a guy who steps up midseason and ends up carrying you and he's doing a great job.”
Though the Longhorns are off to their best start since the Nathan Paisley and Gary Evans era of the mid2000s, they know they've been in this position before.
“I don't know good we are yet,” Pavusek said. “We're still trying to find out. We're trying to maintain consistency and play strong day in and day out.
In addition to Ward's great day at the plate, Austin Humphrey had three big singles while Harley Reece, Danny Herman and Sammy Hampton all had singles.