By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
GRAY—A determined group of future Longhorns didn’t back down from a superior Johnson City Majors squad. Instead, they found a way to earn a comeback win in dramatic fashion.
Johnson County’s 9-10-year-old Little League All-Stars took down the Majors 7-4 in the first round of the District Tournament played at Daniel Boone’s Little League Field. The game was stopped in the third inning for 15 minutes due to the heat. The temperatures remained near 90 after the stoppage and Johnson County’s bats stayed hot.
“We hit it well in the third and fifth innings,” said manager Charlie Jennings. “Our pitchers did a great job of throwing strikes, and our defense did a great job of making plays in the field. I felt like we played as a team and the chemistry was very good on the field. This was a huge win for us. Beating them in All-Star play is always special to us.”
It all started in the third inning with the Junior Longhorns trailing 2-0.
Isaac Lewis got things started with a double then scored on a triple off the bat of Braxton Bragg. The Horns tied the game on an RBI single by Carson Jennings then took the lead on Juan Mejia’s run-scoring base hit to go up 3-2.
“When Braxton hit the triple it got us going,” said Jennings. “Lewis that the big leadoff hit and we just kept hitting. It gave us confidence when we finally got the lead.”
The Majors rallied to retake the lead in the following inning.
Ben Cleveland had a clutch two-run single that put them back on top 4-3, but the Longhorns weren’t about to fold.
They rallied for four runs in the fifth by knocking the cover off the baseball.
Jennings got it started with a leadoff single then moved to third on a double from Kaden Blevins. Mejia’s put them back in front with a double scoring Jennings and Blevins for a 5-4 advantage. Eli Tester kept the fire going by doubling in Mejia then Ethan Smith’s groundout extended their lead at 7-4.
The Longhorns used three pitchers, and all of them threw well.
Blevins started on the mound and worked three and 2/3’s innings. He fanned four and allowed only one earned run. Lewis came on to toss 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. He was credited with the win.
Jennings convincingly closed on the mound by striking out a pair of batters in addition to making a great defensive play to earn the save. It was one of four on the day for him. He also led the team in hitting going 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Mejia added a pair of hits and three RBI’s. Bragg, Lewis, Blevins, and Tester went 1-for-2 apiece. Smith drove in a run.
“Every kid contributed in the win,” added Jennings. “The kids and our coaches have worked hard trying to prepare them. This was a total team effort. The kids got rewarded for all the hard work they have put in.”
Raden Cutlip had a pair of hits to lead the Majors.
The Longhorns were to play Jonesborough on Monday at 6 pm who defeated Boone 14-2 and Blountville 17-4 in their first two games of the tournament.