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JCHS Softball Team Wins four out of five games

Ashley Arnold and the JCHS Softball Team have a little chip on their shoulders and it showed on Thursday night at Kirksey Field as when Arnold was up to bat, the entire Unaka Team moved in.
Three RBIs and a double later, Arnold and the Lady Longhorns had sent a message that they were not going to be underestimated.
Playing against one of the area's most tradition rich schools, the Lady Longhorns defeated Unaka for just the third time in school history in a 10-2 romp over the Lady Rangers.
JCHS took control with a six-run third inning capped off by Arnold's three RBI double.
Unaka seemed to be taking the talents of this outstanding sophomore lightly when they moved in, but Arnold did what JCHS is trying to do this year and that is proving people wrong.
The Lady Longhorns finished fourth in the Three Rivers Conference last season in a year where some experts thought they could have finished as high as second. This year nobody in the major area media really considers JCHS a threat and the team is trying to show people that it is one of the elite teams in area.
Haley Miller did a great job getting things started as she drove in two runs to put JCHS up 3-0 and then Hollie Harrison's single made it 4-0 and then Arnold shocked the Lady Rangers when almost hit the ball out of the park and drove in Miller, Harrison and Rebecca Royston.
The score was 7-0 Lady Longhorns after Arnold's big hit and JCHS was well on its way to a convincing victory.
When Arnold saw Unaka was taking her lightly, she knew she had to step up.
“It motivated me to prove them wrong,” Arnold said. “They're a very good team.”
The Lady Longhorns had 14 hits off a very solid pitching and what has been a weakness the last several seasons now looks like a major strength.
“We practiced hitting a lot over the winter and it showed tonight,” Arnold said. “Unaka is very good. We all came ready to play.”
Of course, the Lady Longhorns still had a little bit of first-game jitters as the team had five errors, but none really hurt JCHS.
“We were really excited and shaking a little bit at the time, but it will come,” Arnold said.
JCHS head coach Dana Smith thought hitting made all the difference against the Lady Rangers.
“We've been concentrating on our hitting,” Smith said. “We hit stations every day and it's going to keep happening because we have people who have committed themselves to hitting. We have people who have committed themselves to hitting .300 or above. All in all, it wasn't bad. We had one bad fielding inning, but that's a combined effort for this team not to quit. I'm amazed and I'm proud of them. They played today like I know they're capable of playing.”
Though her hits didn't come at crucial times, Miranda Payne played outstanding, going 3-for-3 on the afternoon.
“She was given the game ball,” Smith said.
Smith was also very proud of her two sophomores, Miller and Arnold, for stepping up in big moments.
“They really played well,” Smith said. “When you have a combined effort with all the classes and a group of girls that get along and battles like this team does, that's all you can ask for.”
Smith saw on Thursday the fruit of this team's labor and hard work.
“Their work ethic amazes me,” Smith said. “It's nice to be around a bunch of people who work as hard as they work.”
Payne had three hits, Rebecca Royston, Sam Mahala, Hollie Harrison and Haley Miller had two and Eden Smith, Elizabeth Dugger, Allyson Reece and Arnold had one.
Sam Mahala was the winning pitcher for JCHS, allowing six hits and striking out a very impressive 13 batters.
The Lady Longhorns traveled to the Chattanooga metro area last weekend for a tournament in Dayton and played very well.
JCHS was the top seed heading into bracket play, only to fall in the first round to Polk County.
The Lady Longhorns lost in the opening round of tournament play by a score of 3-2.
Ashley Arnold was 1-for-3 with an RBI, Sam Mahala was 1-for-2 with an RBI, Eden Smith was 1-for-2 and Hollie Harrison was 1-for-2.
The Lady Longhorns in the other three games really stepped up and showed why this team is for real.
JCHS started the tournament with an impressive 8-2 win over Obion County.
Eden Smith and Miranda Payne went 2-for-3 with two RBIs with Haley Miller and Sam Mahala also going 2-for-3.
The next game was an 8-1 win over Whitwell.
Haley Miller and Sam Mahala had two hits and drove in runs. Ally Reece went 1-for-2 with an RBI and Ashley Arnold went 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Elizabeth Dugger and Brooke Brown both had hits for JCHS.
The final pool play contest was against Meigs County, a 4-2 win over a state tournament team from last year.
Eden Smith went 2-for-2, Haley Miller went 1-for-2 with three RBIs, Sam Mahala went 1-for-3 with one RBI and Elizabeth Dugger, Allyson Reece Miranda Payne and Hollie Harrison each had hits for JCHS.
Something that needs to be recognized is the pitching of Sam Mahala, who right now has an E.R.A. below 1.00 in five games.
The Lady Longhorns are at home Thursday against Sullivan East and then will play in the NFS Tournament in Erwin Friday and Saturday. JCHS travels back to Unicoi County for a big Three Rivers Conference contest Tuesday.
JV Report
The Lady Longhorns used a combined stellar pitching effort from Danielle Hensley and Kelsey Watson in a 2-0 victory over Unaka Thursday night.
Hensley threw three scoreless innings while Watson threw two.
Miranda Payne and Liza Watson scored runs for JCHS.