By Matt Hill
Sunday afternoon was a special day for the 11 and 12-Year-Old Johnson County Baseball All-Stars.
The Longhorns played outstanding and received home runs from Sam Icenhour and Payton Fenner in 15-4 rout of Daniel Boone at Unicoi County.
Icenhour hit a three run shot in the fourth with Fenner hitting a three run blast in the fifth.
By the end of the home run barrage, the Longhorns led 15-2 and held on from there.
I think they the perked up when they got here today and found out the team that beat us yesterday (JC Major) defeated Unicoi 10-0, JC manager Johnny Arnold said. We hit very well today.
Everyone contributed to the win.
We brought in four pinch runners and everyone of them scored, Arnold said. We played very well defensively, too.
Logan Sargent pitched very well for Johnson County with Caleb Throop coming in for the save.
After falling behind 1-0, the Longhorns netted four runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by Justin Pardues double that brought in two runs.
In the fifth, Icenhour continued his tremendous day with a three RBI double to end the day with six RBIs.
This is a good win, Arnold said. Weve always had trouble with them over the years. I was worried coming in. We had about 10 hits and I think that was the difference.
In the Johnson City Major game Saturday, the Longhorns looked tight as they could only muster up one hit by Ronnie Stonesifer.
However, the Longhorns played tremendous defense and showed they belonged in a 7-0 loss.
Arnold has coached teams in Johnson County for a long time, including players like Chris Gambill and his son Jon Arnold and he says this is one of the best defensive teams he has ever coached.
This is one of the most solid defensive teams Ive had, Arnold said. We really worked on defense in the three weeks we practiced. This bunch pays attention more than other groups Ive had. Ive had more talented teams, but this group plays better a lot better. Six of the starters are 11 years old. Theyll be back next year.
On Monday, the Longhorns nearly won a huge game over traditional powerhouse Unicoi County, only to see it taken away at the end.
Johnson County led 5-1 in the sixth after five outstanding innings from Payton Fenner who gave up just one hit and two walks.
However, the Longhorns couldnt hold on as Unicoi knocked in three runs with two outs to win the game 6-5.
This team definitely has a bright future and look for more triumphs from them in the future.
The 11 and 12-Year-Old Johnson County Softball Team gave a good effort against Unicoi County in two games before falling 5-3 in nine innings Wednesday and 13-6 on Saturday.
The game Wednesday was an outstanding effort by the Lady Longhorns as it went the distance and beyond.
Demi Blevins went nine innings and pitched very well.
The fourth inning saw the Lady Longhorns break a 0-0 tie when Amanda Potter singled to drive in two runs to give Johnson County a 2-0 advantage.
The game remained 2-0, until the sixth when Unicoi scored two runs to tie the game at 2-2.
In the eighth, Unicoi scored on a fielding error to give Unicoi a 3-2 lead and it looked like it was over.
Then Jayme Jennings drilled a softball to the outfield and hit an inside-the-park homerun that tied the game at 3-3.
Unicoi scored two runs in the ninth against a tired Johnson County team and the Lady Longhorns were unable to recover.
On Saturday, the Lady Longhorns were in danger of being mercy ruled several times but they kept fighting and were able to keep the game going.
One bright spot was a home run from Katelyn Brooks in the fourth inning.
The girls did a tremendous job both nights, Johnson County manager David Hannah said. They left it all out on the table. You cant complain about that.
The 9 and 10 Johnson County softball team lost to Daniel Boone 13-1 and to Unicoi County 17-1.
The Lady Longhorns played well in defeat against Daniel Boone, who went on to win the tournament.
Johnson County manager Janet Brooks was pleased with the effort.
They never quit, Brooks said. We made some errors early and we didnt get our bats going until the fourth inning, but they did good.
Brooks thinks this team is going to get better and better.
This group is awesome, Brooks said. Dana Smith and Lisa Mullins have a bright future at the high school and Greg Reece has a bright future at the middle school.