By Tim Chambers
JOHNSON CITY—Johnson County’s junior varsity team braved the cold weather on Friday to play a couple of games while the varsity team took the field on Saturday to complete the six game marathon.
It was hard to determine a true winner as each game was marked by a one-hour time limit where play stopped immediately when the 60 minutes were up.
Head coach Angela Blevins witnessed every inning over the two-day event. Her varsity squad played Daniel Boone, Science Hill, David Crockett and Sullivan Central on Saturday. The junior varsity went up against Tazewell’s varsity and Volunteer on Friday.
“Everyone we played were quality teams, said Blevins. “We did some good things and we saw a lot we need to work on too. We didn’t use any set batting order due to it being a play day. We have 20 girls in our program and we got to see all of them play over the two-day event. I was very pleased with some of the younger players. Many played with more confidence as the games went on.”
The Lady Longhorns tackled Boone in the first game and had some good moments.
Courtney Brooks pitched well in addition to ripping a double down the left field line. Eden Fenner added a solid base hit.
The big blow came when Marley Eggers launched a solo home run over the left centerfield fence, her first one in high school play.
“We had runners on nearly every inning but couldn’t score them due to not getting key base hits,” added Blevins. “That’s part of being a young team. It’s also part of not having people hitting in the right spots. That will change once our season begins.”
They didn’t have to look far for offense in the second game versus Science Hill. A newcomer made sure that her presence was felt.
Hannah Brooks stroked a pair of home runs, one a two-run mammoth shot that pretty much supplied the offense. Michala Cretsinger added a couple of hits in addition to one each by Fenner and Eggers.
“I’m happy for Hannah because she works so hard,” said Blevins. “She never gets cheated in her swing. Michala struggled some today but had her best offensive game against them. We struggled as a team at the plate in run scoring situations. Those things will even out once we get everyone in the right places.”
The Longhorns finished with games against Crockett and Sullivan Central. Blevins praised the play of her catchers in those two.
Brittney Brooks caught the majority of the innings but got some help from backups Lindsey Wills and Natalie Winters.
“Wills played very well when given the opportunity,” said Blevins. “She threw out a runner and did a great job defensively. Natalie made two fantastic plays on bunts and throwing runners out. She is only a freshman but she knows the game.”
Blevins started freshman Abby Cornett in left field, Cretsinger in center and Eggers in right.
“We have a lot of speed out there,” said Blevins. “We misplayed one in the first game but I like the makeup out there. I want it to be tough to drop a ball in on us. Those three should keep getting better the more we can get outside and work on that part.”
The JV played well scoring several runs against Volunteer on Friday.
“I liked the pitching performance by Emily Garr,” added Blevins. Some of our kids stepped up and hit the ball well. We have some things we need to fine tune on the varsity squad. We need to take care of the routine plays before we make the spectacular ones. I felt like we matured and grew as the games went on. It was great getting to see all 20 girls take the field in the six games that we played.”