Having started off the week playing a long hard round against Unicoi, the Lady Longhorns were ready to move on to their next challenge at home against Sullivan East. This time however, the results were much different to the surprise and excitement of JCHS fans. Starting off slow on the offense, things looked bleak for Johnson County until a huge late game turn around gave the Lady Longhorns just what they needed to pull out a win.
With only two base hits in the whole first half, every chance to put the ball into play became increasingly essential. Yet, as Assistant Coach Lisa Mullins pointed out, all of the runs for the game, including the three game winners in the sixth inning, would have been difficult if not impossible without help from some of the Lady Longhorns increasingly talented freshmen and sophomores.
It came down to our younger players, Mullins said. There were two freshmen and a sophomore knocking in the ones in front of them. Kallie Sluder, Brianna Snyder, and Kelsey Duperry were the three to knock in the three runs in the sixth inning to win it.
By the end of the night, Johnson County managed to put up just four runs against one of the tougher teams in the conference. Yet, thanks to a combination of both fielding and an impressive performance by Hope Nelson on the mound, even this handful of advances was enough to give Johnson County the win they were hoping for.
Throwing all seven innings, Nelson went on to land 76 strikes and only 26 balls for the whole game. By the end of the night the sophomore had eight strikeouts with only one walk, proving once again the level of talent being displayed in such a young group of girls.
East got off to an early start, running in the first batter in the lineup, but with a couple of well placed strikeouts, the Lady Patriots were just as quickly held at bay, making just two more hits over the next three innings, with neither one resulting in a run. East was able to pick things up in the sixth, batting in one more runner and pushing another to third, but with a quick response at home plate and a follow-up strikeout, the Lady Patriots chances ended before too much damage could be done.
Still trailing 0-2, it looked as though there might be a repeat of Unicoi coming into Johnson Countys last chance at bat, but starting off with a huge double from Abby Reece, things quickly turned around. Reece moved on to third off a first base hit by Jayme Jennings, who in turn was moved on a successful bunt from Linnea Youngue.
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