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JCHS loses final conference game

With the clock ticking down to the district tournament, Johnson County took on their last conference opponent on the road Monday night against the Elizabethton Cyclones. Although the game was still a loss, there was a notable improvement from the two teams first clash earlier in the season. The key difference came from the Longhorn defense that managed to hold Elizabethton to just five runs, two of which came at the bottom of the sixth.
Adam Worley, the team’s only junior this season, took the mound and managed a solid performance with three Ks’ out of 58 total strikes. Walking just one runner the whole night, Worley gave his team a fighting chance and re-emphasized his reputation as one of the most determined players in the club.
“Adam Worley pitched a great game,” said Head Coach Pete Pavusek.  “He’ll be my only senior next year, but he’s a hard worker, smart, intelligent, knows the game, a blue collar type athlete. He plays hard from the first pitch to the last pitch. He’s just good to have around, good to have as a part of our program.”
Despite the valiant effort, Elizabethton undeniably has some talented hitters and a few key points of contact managed to find their way into the gaps. Particularly troubling was a big double into left field in the Cyclones initial turn at bat, which put Elizabethton on the board by bumping in the runner on first. With two quick outs against them, Worley was able to close the inning with a strikeout before any more damage could be done.
The Cyclones didn’t even get on base in the second inning but then had a little luck and made it all the way to third before being left stranded. Another fourth inning shutout thanks to some handy work from the Longhorn infield kept the hope alive for a Johnson County upset, only to be diminished in the fifth when a single and a double wound up giving Bo Pless two RBI’s and increasing the deficit to three.
Up to that point the Longhorn offense hadn’t fared too well. Nick Whitener landed a line drive down the middle to take first base in the second only to be cut short from a series of consecutive strikeouts. Whitener got on again in the fifth, this time getting caught on his way to second. Nathaniel Graybeal took base on a shot into center, but other than these meager advances Johnson County’s offense simply couldn’t get off the ground.
The Longhorn’s best chance to a turn around came in the sixth when two back-to-back walks on Samuel Icenhour and Adam Worley were bumped forward on a hit from Payton Fenner. Icenhour was caught on his way to home plate, becoming the second out of the inning, and Fenner and Worley were left on base when Sam Thomas was cut short taking second.
“We had a chance to score some runs,” Coach Pavusek said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. We had bases loaded a couple times but we just kind of run ourselves out of it with double plays.”
That opportunity past, Johnson County had one more chance to make up the Elizabethton’s five runs as they came up to bat in the seventh. Like much of the early part of the game contact on the ball did not equate base hits, resulting in two grounders and a fly that were all three easy prey for the Cyclone defense.