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JCHS Baseball Team romps Warriors in season opener

Mark Jennings has experienced several great football performances, but on Monday afternoon he had a baseball game he will never forget.
Going up against arguably Johnson County's biggest baseball rival, the Longhorn senior went four-for-five with 4 RBIs in addition to a solid pitching performance in a 10-2 romp over the Happy Valley Warriors at Longhorn Field.
The Longhorns start the season 1-0 and played Unicoi County at home yesterday.
Jennings had an outstanding afternoon as he had a perfect day at the plate going until the sixth inning.
Jennings was very dominant on the mound, giving up just four hits and striking out seven.
“We've been working on pitching,” Jennings said. “I've been pitching 80 pitch bullpens and I threw only 90 pitches today so it didn't hurt my arm real bad. Everybody came to play today.”
Since the 2006 season, wins over the Warriors have been rare for the Longhorns, but JCHS does see the team as a big rival and everybody came out ready to play.
After Happy Valley scored in the first to take a 1-0 lead, JCHS totally took over from there.
Jennings single in the firs knocked in Judd Hammons to tie the game up at 1-1.
Jennings later scored on an RBI from Danny Herman that gave the Longhorns a 2-1 edge
With the score tied at 2-2 in the third inning, the Longhorns were on their way when they scored three runs, including another RBI from Jennings.
However, it was a two-RBI double by Harley Reece that put the Longhorns ahead 5-2 and gave JCHS the confidence it needed.
The Longhorns were ready to play and they did enjoy the win over the Warriors.
“It feels awesome to come out here and get our first win of the season,” Jennings said. “It's a good start. We've worked hard and it showed tonight.
“I think people are going to be shocked. This is all because of hard work. We have good coaches in Coach Pavusek and Coach Perkins and Gary Evans has really helped me with my pitching.”
The Longhorns added four runs in the fourth with Ward and Jennings both having big doubles.
Jennings had his final RBI in the fifth on a big double that scored Jacob Henson.
“I can't even think about this,” Jennings said. “It shocks me.”
JCHS head coach Pete Pavusek thought that this was a great way to being the 2011 campaign.
“It's a good start,” he said. “I wish we could have picked up a few more runs as we made a few mistakes base running and I think it's first game jitters, but it's a win and we'll take it.”
Jennings' pitching performance was outstanding as well, but he really made a statement with his bat.
“Mark had some big hits when we needed them,” Pavusek said.
It was also a great night for kids like Reece and Ward.
“Sawyer had a big hit when we needed it,” Pavusek said. “We drew a lot of walks and showed some patience. A few of these kids have really come a long way. It's a good start for us.”
Herman had a solid day catching, coming through with a big throw out.
Herman also showed good hustle as well on foul balls.
“Danny is pretty important to us,” Pavusek said. “He's got a great bat and a great attitude and he's working hard. We have some other guys who can go in there and get the job done too.”
Though the Warriors are not the same team as in the Todd Caldwell and Ricky Morgan years, it's still a win that the Longhorn program cherishes.
“It's a big win anytime you beat Happy Valley,” Pavusek said.
In addition to Jennings' performance, Jacob Henson, Sawyer Ward, Harley Reece and Sammy Hampton each had hits for JCHS.
JV Report
The JCHS Junior Varsity Baseball Team won easily Monday night in an 8-0 victory over the Warriors.
The Longhorns received two outstanding pitching performances from Jacob Henson and Ryan Mahala.
The Longhorn duo combined on a shutout and helped propel the squad to a win.
“It's always nice to start the season with a win,” JCHS assistant coach Nicholas Perkins said. “We have some solid players with a lot of potential and it was nice to get them a win under their belt.
“Jacob Henson and Ryan Mahala pitched outstanding. We saw some things we needed to correct, but overall it was a nice opening day win. It feels good.”
Judd Hammons scored to begin the game and everything clicked for JCHS.
Bobby Taylor also came through with a couple of big hits for JCHS and Hammons later scored again on a big single by Ryan Smith.
Tristan Robinson also scored and overall it was a nice win for a group of kids who are the future of Longhorn baseball.
The JV kids have worked extremely hard and now they're hard is paying off.
“Our junior varsity club practices almost as much as our varsity club,” Perkins said. “We do treat this very serious. This is a feeder for our varsity and we're trying to teach them how to play.”
The Longhorn JV, just like the varsity, was glad to get a win over its big rival.
“It is a big rival,” Perkins said. “I enjoyed it personally and hopefully we can do it many more times.”
Overall, Perkins said Monday was an outstanding day for Longhorn Baseball.
“It was a great night and great day for Longhorn baseball,” Perkins said. “I'm very appreciative for the great crowd we had and to our fans for hanging around for the JV game. We had a great crowd and it was a great day to be a Longhorn and a great day to be a member of the Longhorn Baseball family.”