By Tim Chambers
A fountain of youth has been discovered in Johnson County and it’s much to the liking of middle school baseball coach Julian Crews. His Longhorns opened the season with a pair of big wins over the weekend despite having only two eighth graders on the varsity roster.
They knocked off Westview 12-2 in their season opener then added a 7-2 win over Sullivan Middle School on Friday.
Johnson County 12
Johnson County got their first win on Thursday with a five-run third inning leading the way. They also got a stellar pitching performance by Ethan Icenhour who tossed a no-hitter facing 19 batters.
Icenhour struck out 11 before giving way to Seth Conder in the final frame. He fanned two of the three hitters he faced.
The Horns took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single from Stacy Greer that scored Asa Lewis who had walked.
The game remained that way until the third inning when four base hits by the Longhorns produced five runs to put them up 6-0.
Greer got things started with a single, then scored on a double by Conder. Mason Bragg followed with a run scoring base hit, but the big blow came two batters later.
Nathan Rice broke the game open by smacking a two-run double that put Johnson County up by a half dozen.
The hit parade continued during the fourth inning when the Longhorns strung together four more that manufactured three scores.
Greer, Icenhour, Condor and Preston Greer all had hits that enabled them to up their advantage at 9-0.
Their final two scores came by the way of walks and errors.
Stacy Greer led the hitting going 3-3. Icenhour added a 2-2 performance. Lewis and Condor when 2-3 apiece and Rice had a 2-5 day. Preston Greer and Bragg provided the other two hits.
Johnson County 7
Sullivan Middle 2
A five-run second inning on Friday was all the Horns needed to win their second straight game in consecutive days.
They scored an unearned run in the first to go up 1-0 but put together a mammoth second frame capped off by five hits.
Mason Bragg and Nathan Rice got things started with singles. Stacy Greer plated the second run with an RBI base hit before the big blows came.
Ethan Icenhour drove in two runs with a single, then Zack Parsons duplicated the feat by driving in two more with a base hit to make the score 6-0.
Sullivan scored two runs in the bottom half but couldn’t muster any more.
Conder doubled and scored in the fourth.
Bragg topped the Longhorns going 2-3. Greer, Icenhour, Rice, Condor and Parsons provided one apiece.
Condor picked up the win on the mound for Johnson County. He allowed only four hits and struck out five.
Crews was proud of his team’s play over the two-day haul.
“It’s always good to start the season off with two wins,” said Crews. “We’ve got a very young team made up of mostly seventh graders. I thought we played well in the field but was very pleased with how we hit the ball. We’ve got lots of things to work on but getting two wins was a big confidence booster for our young squad.”