By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
ELIZABETHTON—You don’t need a crystal ball to see that the future looks bright for the Lady Longhorns’ softball team. Johnson County gave fans a glimpse of that last weekend by winning the Cyclone Classic Junior Varsity Tournament played at Elizabethton High School.
The Lady Longhorns currently have only 13 players in the softball program, and many of them start on the varsity team.
Head coach Angela Blevins has only one senior, so eight to nine underclassmen are pulling double time on both squads. Currently three freshmen, six sophomores a junior and senior are logging most of the varsity minutes in addition to playing junior varsity games.
The lineup started to play dividends during the Cyclone Classic where the team registered wins over David Crockett, Elizabethton, and Happy Valley before losing a meaningless game to Cloudland after the outcome had already been decided.
Blevins was ecstatic about her team’s play during the event.
“I thought that Hannah Brooks pitched outstanding in two of our wins and we played well defensively the whole time,” said Blevins. “We got timely hits when we needed them because they walked Hannah almost every time that she batted. Natalie had three big doubles, and all of them came with the bases loaded, and several others stepped up and played well. This was a good thing to build on for our softball program. Even though most of them play varsity we still probably have the youngest team in the conference.”
Johnson County 9
David Crockett 3
The Longhorns banged out nine hits and rode the superior pitching of Brooks to knock off the Pioneers in convincing fashion. The crafty righty allowed only three hits while picking up the victory.
Natalie Winters broke the game open with a towering base loaded double late in the game that gave them a six-run cushion.
Abby Cornett and Alexis Headley banged out two hits apiece, and each scored twice to lead the offense. Lindsey Wills, Maddie Edington, Emmy Miller, Bella Miller and Winters totaled one apiece.
A two-run homer accounted for most of Crockett’s total.
Johnson County 8
Hannah Brooks was a force on the mound for the second game in a row, scattering seven hits and struck out six while picking up the victory.
Winters once again provided the knockout punch by crushing a three-run double after Brooks was walked three times.
Emmy Miller had a big day going 2-3 against the Cyclones with two runs scored. Alexis Headley also went 2-3 with an RBI. Abby Cornett scored a pair of runs and went 1-2 as did Lindsey Wills. Cassidy Lakatos contributed a base hit.
“They kept walking Hannah, but we were able to drive her in each time they did,” said Blevins. “We got hits when we needed to, and I thought we made several good plays in the field. This was the key game we needed if we were to have a chance at winning the tournament.”
Johnson County 12
Happy Valley 5
The third game was like watching the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray. The pitchers kept walking Hannah Brooks, and Natalie Winters kept belted three-run doubles.
Winters was 2-3 with four RBI’s including her third bases-loaded two-bagger that broke the game open.
Lindsey Wills was 1-1 with two runs scored while Emmy Miller went 1-2 and scored twice. The trio of Emmy Miller, Maddie Edington and Diamond Dibble each had a hit and scored. Brooks scored three runs after being walked three times.
The Longhorns dropped a meaningless game to Cloudland in their final contest as Blevins emptied the bench after the Horns were declared the tournament winner in the round-robin event after three straight victories.