By Tim Chambers
Not even Mister Rogers could have found a more perfect day to play baseball in the neighborhood as Hampton and Johnson County did on Friday. The Horns rode a superior pitching performance by sophomore Jayden Joiner to come away with a 4-2 nonconference victory.
The Bulldogs opened the game by scoring twice in their first at-bat. Wyatt Lyons had an RBI triple and he later scored on a groundout.
But Joiner settled down at that point and held the Dogs scoreless over the next six frames. JCHS’ head coach Pete Pavusek touched on his performance.
“Jayden has pitched two great games for us this week,” said Pavusek. “We are having to ride a sophomore but he’s throwing well for us right now. He’s going to be a special player if we can keep him healthy. He had good control of his pitches and stayed ahead on nearly every batter in the count. I thought he got better as the game went on.”
Pavusek was spot on about his sizzling sophomore. He ended the contest by allowing only four hits and walked one. He struck out seven batters including one after the Dogs had gotten the potential go-ahead run on just 90 feet away in the third.
He also factored at the plate by driving in three runs including Johnson County’s first two that tied the game at 2-2.
McClain Carleton and Josh Tierney had both singled to start the inning and scored on Joiner’s base hit.
Joiner’s sac fly in the sixth inning scored Tierney who had singled, allowing Johnson County to move in front 3-2.
Tierney’s third hit of the game brought in Daniel Livorsi who had walked in the seventh inning for some added insurance.
Joiner retired the side in order in the seventh.
Tierney went 3-4 to lead the Longhorns at the plate. Nick Whitener was 1-for-3 with a double. Bud Icenhour, Carleton and Joiner had the other Longhorn hits.
Pavusek was happy with the win but didn’t like the fact that the Horns left 11 base runners stranded.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.