By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
BRISTOL—The sleeping giant awoke just a little too late against Johnson City Nationals on Sunday afternoon. Johnson County fell behind 14-2 after two innings but rallied for eight unanswered runs over the next three frames before falling 16-10 in the District 5 All-Star tournament in Bristol.
The loss eliminated Johnson County who lost to Erwin 8-4 on Saturday.
The Longhorns trailed the entire game after failing to score in their first at bat.
Three hits by Noah Hazel, Boaz Lipscomb and Holden Davis allowed the Nationals to take a 3-0 lead after one. It would only get worse from there.
Johnson City broke loose for nine runs in the second inning to go up 14-0. It looked like game might end early due to the mercy rule but that wouldn’t be the case.
The Longhorns got on the board by scoring two in the bottom half to begin their comeback.
Eli Dickens led off with a single down the right field line and moved to third on a base hit by Conner Stout. Conner Simcox got the Horns on the board with a double then Nate Dorman followed with an RBI base hit to cut the lead at 14-2.
Johnson City was able to log a couple more runs in the third thanks to base hits by Brayden Barnett, Petie Corvy and Nakota Graham but the Horns would not be denied.
They continued to chip away at the large deficit by scoring four times in the bottom half to get within 10 at 16-6.
Graham Reece led off with a single then scored on a two-out base hit by Dickens. The hit parade continued with back-to-back one-baggers from Ethan Reece and Tyler Bouchelle. Simcox cleared the bases with a two-run double before Johnson City could record the third
out but the Horns still trailed 16-6.
Johnson County elected to bring in Chris Reece to pitch the fourth inning and it proved to be an excellent move.
The crafty right-hander got his team out of a jam by retiring
the third out of the inning on one pitch with runners at second and third. He went on
to pitch scoreless baseball
over the final two frames allowing only one and two base runners.
Johnson County tallied a pair of runs in the fourth inning that kept the game from ending due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Dalton Adams slapped a two-run single scoring the Reece duo of Graham and Chris that cut the deficit in half at 16-8.
They duplicated that feat again in the fifth inning that edged them with rock-throwing distance at 16-10.
Simcox smacked his third base hit of the game and Ezra Howard laced a solid single. Some heads up running by both runners enabled them to come home after a sacrifice fly off the bat of George Grill got misplayed.
Johnson City was able to retire the Longhorns in their
final at bat to preserve the victory.
Reece was dynamite on the mound in his two plus innings of work. A pair of
good defensive plays form shortstop Graham Reece and one in right field by Howard aided him.
Simcox had a big day at the plate for Johnson County going 3-for-3 with three RBI’s. Graham Reece and Dickens added a pair of hits each and scored twice. Stout, Bouchelle, Dorman, Howard, Adams and Ethan Reece all had one hit apiece.
Hazel and Lipscomb had three hits apiece for Johnson City Nationals. Corvy and Holden Davis provided two apiece.
11-12 Year old Zone 5
Johnson City Nationals 16, Johnson County 10
J. City Nationals 392 200 —16
Johnson Co. 024 220 — 10