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Johnson County played a solid defensive game against Sullivan North

It was a busy week for the Longhorns as the traveled Monday night to Kingsport to take on the Sullivan North Golden Raiders. Fortunately the long drive didn’t seem to affect how the team played, and Johnson County was quick to get their first runners up on the board thanks to good contact on the ball by Ryan Smith, Judd Hammons, and Dusty Stout.
Stout, in particular, impressed fans and spectators by taking first base three times during the game solely through bunts. Having become known for his use of the bunt, Stout attributes his success to a combination of luck and skill. “I just bunt it. I can place my body one way and bunt it down the first base line, or twist the bat another way and hit it down the third base line. It’s a little bit luck too. I watch to see if the first base line is playing kind of deep. I look to see if first and second base are where they can come and get it, and usually third base will play kind of up because I’m small and I knuckle them. First and second were playing deep so I just tried to lay one down the first base line, and it went,” he said.
The Longhorns also played a solid defensive game with Ryan Mahala taking to the mound to pitch his fourth complete game for the season. Throwing out a total of 119 pitches that struck out six Raider batters, Mahala sustained a good overall performance, especially as the pressure ramped up in the last couple of innings. Aided by a strong showing from both the infield and outfield catchers, the Longhorns were able to keep North from making a complete run for the first three innings, and then from scoring again until the sixth.
Unfortunately, Johnson County was also having trouble making a complete run, despite making 12 base earning hits overall, until the last two innings. As a result, the score was tied 2-2 for more than two innings, before the Raiders managed to gain two more runs in the sixth. The Longhorns were still trailing by one coming into the seventh, but a good showing at bat ultimately allowed Johnson County to make the necessary gains needed to pull out a win 5-4.
Coach Pete Pavusek seemed well satisfied with his team’s overall performance, but cautioned that there was still a need for improvement. “The defense was pretty good. We had a little bit of let down there at the catcher; letting them get a run to get ahead. Mahala did a good job. He pitched ahead most of the game except for one inning where he had some walks. We have to cut down on that and work on some situations because any time you walk batters in an inning they have a good chance of scoring, but Ryan finished up strong and had a big hit there at the end. Dusty Stout did well for us as well. His first two at bats were base hits on bunts. Judd Hammons came through when we needed it, and Harley Reece also had a big hit, so maybe we can roll with this one.”