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Lady Longhorns close out 2012 season

Having lost to the Sullivan East Lady Patriots in their first round of the District 1 AA tournament, the Lady Longhorns hoped that a potential second encounter might have different results. Unfortunately despite putting up a phenomenal fight in a game where neither side managed to score for the first five innings, the Johnson County girls fell victim to the same problems that have plagued them all season.
According to Coach Dana Smith, “The inconsistency that we have been worried about all year comes back to bite us at crucial times, and it did tonight. For the first four innings we would have two runners on, and then they would have two runners on. Then we turned them loose with the defensive mistakes that we made. When you do that, when you turn loose of a team that you are hanging in with, where there is a very good defensive battle going on, and you make the first defensive mistake, that seems to take your focus off the game a little bit. No team needs to do that, that’s when you actually need to focus more,” she said.
The desire to win was visible on the field as both teams struggled to gain the upper hand on their opponent. The defense was so intense from both sides at the beginning of the game that very few hits didn’t result in an out. In fact, in the first four innings East only took base three times, once with a double and twice to first base. The Lady Longhorns fared a little better, with Cindy Eddington advancing to second off a hit by Miranda Payne, but overall Johnson County still only put runners into play five times.
Yet, as Coach Smith noted, a few key defensive errors in the fifth inning proved to be the real turning point in the game. “They are very disappointed right now, just like I am, with this loss because it was not what we anticipated. We hoped to play better defensively but it just didn’t work for us. Both pitchers did a very good job today, and I can’t fault either one of them, but I do think that if either team had hit early it would have been a very different type of game later on,” Smith said.
Beginning with a crucial hit to first base followed by a critical error from the Lady Longhorn defense, East managed to send two of their runners home. These were followed by two more, with one taking base after being hit by the pitcher. A hit by the seventh batter, which actually resulted in an out thanks to a catch in the outfield by Eden Smith, helped to push the third and fourth runners across the plate, leaving the score 0-4.
The Lady Longhorns regained some of their composure as they came up to bat, finally making some good contact with Eden Smith taking first on a hit and advancing to third after another key defensive error, this time from East. Cindy Eddington landed a double into left field, and was followed by a hit from Miranda Payne to take first. Both Smith and Eddington made their way home, but Payne was unfortunately cut short as she tried to take third.
Now ahead by only two runs, East made another push to give them some distance on the scoreboard. In a repeat of the sixth inning, the Lady Patriots were quick to put runners on the bases with several hits, a walk, and a hit by the pitcher. A big drive into right field earned the Lady Patriot’s fifth batter a double and two RBI’s, and before Johnson County could shut them down, East had put up another four runs.
Even down by six with only one more turn at bat Johnson County did not give up. Liza Watson was the first up to the plate, landing a double into left field. She then advanced to third off a base hit by Kelsey Watson. Liza was then batted in by a double from Haley Miller, which also pushed Kelsey to third. Ashley Arnold was up next, and made good contact on the ball, but was caught out by East’s left fielder. Miller looked to be the third runner to make it home, but was caught on her way from third, giving the Lady Longhorns’ their second out.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.