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Johnson County held Raiders at bay

Coming on the heels of a tough loss the night before, the Johnson County Longhorns were willing and able to show that they were far from out of the running this season, taking on the Sullivan North Raiders in a knock down drag out game that was close right to the last inning. Thankfully some strong pitching by Ryan Mahala, along with a series of timely hits by Daniel Helm, Jacob Henson, Judd Hammons, and Dusty Stout, allowed Johnson County to hold the Raiders at bay and land the one run they needed to take home the win.
Coach Pete Pavusek seemed well pleased with the game’s outcome. “Ryan pitched well. One hundred eleven pitches and he seemed like he was getting a little bit stronger there at the end. It was a good showing and a good sign for later on down the road. We hit when we needed to. We had a couple of opportunities there late where we had bases loaded and had a chance to pick up a run in the sixth inning, but I told them that if we got that third out in the top of the seventh we would come in and score a run, and sure enough we did. It was a good game. It’s a conference win and gets us right back in it,” said Pavusek.
The first inning started off slow for the Longhorns, ultimately trailing behind North 0-2, and unable to cross home plate until the third. Fortunately, Mahala began to warm up after a slow start pitching, and aided by a strong defense, kept the Raiders off the score board until the fifth. In the meantime, the Longhorns luck began to change gaining a run in the third and fourth innings, and picking up two more in the fifth.
As the toll of throwing out fastball after fastball began to take its effect on Mahala, the Longhorns began to slip a little again in the sixth, tying up the score 4-4. “I feel like in about the fifth inning I gave up a few hits,” said Mahala. “I was getting pretty tired. I started throwing it up in their zone a little bit and they started getting more hits. I noticed it and in the sixth and seventh I started throwing it down, which worked pretty well. I started to get pumped up and in the seventh I just wanted to win it really badly. I tried to come out strong. I had it in mind I was going to get these outs do or die.”
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