The Lady Longhorns finished up their softball season against a notoriously familiar foe. After losing to Sullivan East in close games all year long, Johnson County once again found themselves just a few runs shy of a win in the first round of the district tournament. After bouncing back with a huge win over Sullivan North in the second game it was down to a final all or nothing match against the Lady Patriots in the third and final game.
After playing nail biter after nail biter against East, Johnson County finally broke in their last round. Facing a complete lack of offense through the first four innings and very little advancement even toward the end of the game, the Lady Longhorns simply couldnt get on the board enough to compete with the steadily increasing successes of the Lady Patriots. Errors coupled with a smattering of good hits when they needed them saw East lay down solid sweeps in the first and third innings, ultimately giving them a huge 9-1 win by the end of the evening.
Although the coaching staff was obviously very disappointed with the way things finished up, there were still some very positive accomplishments with the season overall. Brianna Snyder paved the way for Johnson Countys pitching staff in the long run, throwing in 21 games with five wins to her credit. Cindi Edington came in right behind with 11 games and two wins, and Demi Blevins rounded out with four games at the varsity level while carrying the bulk of the Junior Varsity pitching duties.
As much as Edington was a defensive force, she also took the top spot offensively, claiming 20 runs in all with a total of 32 hits. Nine of those were home runs and seven were doubles. Fellow powerhouse Jayme Jennings was right behind with 16 total runs and 27 hits, and Blevins finished up the top three batting averages on the team with 26 hits.
Other players like Kalli Sluder and Meghan Walters had exceptional seasons in fielding and were both fairly consistent at bat as well, while younger players like Michala Cretsinger and Eden Fenner grew steadily more comfortable in their roles throughout the year. With no seniors in the lineup, the final loss against East was not so much an end to the season as a benchmark to where the team needs to be going for next year.
With the summer just around the corner the team will change their focus from winning conference games to polishing up the skills they need to become more competitive. Some of the players will take their training on the road as part of a travel team and others may be gearing up for fall sports like volleyball, but regardless of the tough final stretch they have faced in the past few weeks, 2015 is already showing some potential for success in Johnson County softball.