Although many members of the team are playing on various summer travel teams, the Lady Longhorn Softball program was able to pull together at least one summer tournament, traveling to Sullivan East to take on some tough competitors like Science Hill and Tennessee High. Playing two games on a Thursday and two more Friday, the girls got the chance to welcome in the rising freshmen, who all did surprisingly well on their first time out.
Having gone beyond expectations for such a young team this past season, prospects are looking even better for next year. Kelsey Duperry resumed her spot at third, while the teams chief slugger Jayme Jennings picked up at shortstop. Demi Blevins and Brianna Snyder had strong showings from the mound, and incoming Junior Kallie Sluder stepped into Ashley Arnolds shoes, doing a fantastic job at second, a spot that she seems more than happy to play. Ive been playing there since I was about eight, Sluder said about the position. Ive been playing second and right, and I feel pretty good. Ive also done pretty well on my hitting. This was a really good play day for us. We have six freshmen here and its good for them to get the experience and for us to all play together. Im very excited about next year.
The Lady Longhorns had some big success Thursday, coming in with a huge 7-1 victory over Tennessee High and then going on to beat Sullivan East 5-1. Many of the older players couldnt make the tournament, leaving some big opportunities for the new girls on the team to get on the field. Players like Maddie South, Michala Cretsinger, and Marley Eggers were among those that Coach Lisa Mullins got the chance to place in a variety of positions, while already noting some big potential. Everything overall has been pretty good, Mullins said. Most of the time you can only get the younger kids in the summer. Everybody else has a job or vacations, basketball camp, volleyball camp whatever, and so normally you just have the younger ones here. But it is what it is and you play to get better. You hope you can get your younger ones in so they can get some experience. We have done that a little, maybe not as much as I would like, but we got them in the game some. We did change around some as well. Kourtney Tolley played third Thursday and we changed Jayme and Kelsey Duperry around. Then we tried to work in some of the younger ones.
Johnson County opened up again against Tennessee High Friday, this time winning with 11. However, it was a totally different story as the Science Hill Lady Hilltoppers took to the field. Dominating the offense from the very first inning, it was as if an entirely new group had stepped in for the Longhorns. Despite having few if any defensive errors earlier in the day against Tennessee High, the Science Hill game was one mistake after another. Missed catches even on some simple pop ups cost the Longhorns dearly, and like a faucet the girls normally solid performance at bat simply shut off. Before long the Lady Toppers were leading by four runs, and although the defense did their best, they could not slow down their advance.
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