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Longhorn summer baseball a big success

Johnson County has usually fielded a summer-league baseball that was run under the jurisdiction of little league or Babe Ruth, but this year it was done differently.
This summer the high school baseball program played on its own in a summer league against area high schools.
The league lasted until mid-June before the TSSAA mandated dead week period.
The team was coached by JCHS assistant Nicholas Perkins and he was assisted by Gary Evans and Cliff Mahala.
“All of the top high school baseball programs in Northeast Tennessee practice and play in the summer. I wanted to give our players and our program that same opportunity,” Perkins said.
The Longhorns didn't pick on chop liver as Johnson County played Dobyns-Bennett and David Crockett, both Big 8 powers.
“I believe a team improves by playing better competition. Looking at the big picture, there are times that losing to better teams and allowing your players to see that level of competition and seeing what they need to improve on to compete at that level, benefits your ball club more than beating a lesser ball club. Wins are fun and make everyone happy, but there are times that wins are shallow when it comes to player development and the big picture of your baseball program,” Perkins said. ” We played a fifteen game summer schedule, but I was most pleased to travel to Dobyns Bennett and to play a home and home with David Crockett. It was the first time Crockett had been to Johnson County to play baseball in twenty years, since Darin Chaplain was the head baseball coach in Johnson County,” Perkins said.
The extra time spent with players, none of which was mandatory, gave Perkins a chance to help hone the kids' skills.
“It's all about player development! It's about consistently getting fundamentally sound repetition to correct muscle memory and to help players gain more confidence and feel more comfortable doing things the correct way,” Perkins said.
The feel is a little bit different as the focus is more on getting kids better than winning.
It's obvious that Johnson County kids will definitely benefit from the kids playing summer baseball.
“Summer ball is more laid back. Again, player development is the focus. The final score becomes secondary. It helped our players step into the roles they are going to have during the 2012 season. I feel every player who participated this summer are better players now than they were at the conclusion of the 2011 high school baseball season. Baseball is a game of repetition and the reps my players got this summer helped them,” Perkins said.
Perkins says he couldn't have done this without his coaches.
I want to thank Coach Gary Evans and Coach Cliff Mahala for helping this summer. They are as competitive and as intense as I am. Coach Evans is a great resource for our pitchers and middle infielders. Coach Mahala is the kind of person you want around your baseball players. I want to thank our players for playing this summer. As an assistant coach, I could not make our summer program mandatory as many high school baseball programs do, so we were blessed to have enough players who make baseball a priority and care about their games to be able to play this summer. This is not about me. It's about our players, past, present, and future. It's about Longhorn Baseball,” Perkins said.