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Longhorns begins summer league season

Although the regular season may have ended, the beginning of the short summer league means that Longhorn fans still have a few opportunities to catch some baseball action. Going up against bigger teams such as David Crockett and Volunteer, summer ball also gives Johnson County the chance to gain some much needed experience for next year, and considering the stellar tournament run that the Longhorns put up only a few weeks ago, this year’s summer ball could be more important than ever.
Stepping up to take the reins after leading the JV and working as Coach Pete Pavusek’s right-hand man, Coach Nicholas Perkins was ready and willing to pick up where the regular season left off. “We can’t rest on our laurels,” said Perkins. “We have to keep momentum going, keep building and keep improving. The expectations and standards for our baseball program have been raised. We must continue to work and continue to improve. We can’t get comfortable or complacent. Summer ball is all about repetition and player development.”
Going up against the David Crockett Pioneers in their first outing, the Longhorns held their own, playing a very close game through all seven innings. Having lost several notable senior players, including third basemen Harley Reece and Andy Stout as well as second baseman Chad Hodgkiss, Perkins’s first task was to fill in some key positions. Coming in out of a successful junior varsity run, Sam Thomas took over third, while Adam Worley held second. According to Perkins, “Summer goes a long way toward giving us an idea of what we can think about for next year. We have a couple of infield positions to be competed for, and our second and third pitchers in our starting rotation are also two spots that are to be competed for. They did well today. Worley didn’t have a whole lot of action on second base, but second is his natural position. Sam has played a lot of third base on the JV level, but we’ll just have to continue to compete and see how those spots play out over time.”
The team held up very well defensively. Ryan Mahala was the first Longhorn pitcher to take the mound, striking out two batters before turning it over to Andy Woods in the second inning. The pioneers managed to gain a single run in the first inning and two more in the second, but Johnson County quickly caught back up with two runs of their own.
Daniel Helm landed a hit in the second inning, advancing to third after stealing second and was given the opportunity to put up a run thanks to an RBI from John Vannoy. Ryan Mahala was the next Johnson County runner to take home, making his play off a hit by Sam Thomas. Trailing by one, the Longhorns were ready to take back the lead coming into the third and were successful if only for a short period of time.
To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.