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Longhorns could be middle of the pack

JCHS Varsity Baseball: Front Row: Mason Bragg. Middle Row (L-R): Andrew Whitaker, Trey Snyder, Dalton Brown, Ethan Icenhour, Asa Lewis. Back Row (L-R): Peyton Pavusek, Dakota Holt, Bradley Livorsi, Stacy Greer, Seth Conder, Matt Mowery, Ben Howard, Colton Long, Petie Pavusek. Photos by Joey Icenhour

By Tim Chambers
SPORTS EDITOR

Three hundred twenty-two wins, and a 25-year coaching tenure at the same school will get you a lot of things at most schools but not Pete Pavusek, who enters his 25th year in the dugout as head baseball coach at Johnson County High School without any recognition or fanfare for his accomplishments.

Last year’s Longhorns were 6-6 in league play and finished 12-10 overall that included several big conference victories. Not bad for a team who each year has to battle the weather elements and so forth, and this year is pretty much the same.
Pavusek will look to three returning seniors for leadership and a junior transfer Matthew Moyer that has definitely raised some eyebrows since transferring in at the start of the year from Ohio.

King College signee and four-year starter Petie Pavusek, Bradley Livorsi, and senior Ben Howard will be counted on to lead the team, according to Pavusek.

We have great kids this year,” said Pavusek, who are good leaders at our school and in the community. I really like this group of kids that we have.” Pavusek said this when I asked him about the team’s strengths.

“Our strength is our ability to get along with one another. These kids enjoy being out here together. There is good chemistry among this group of kids, and they want to play hard for one another.”

I asked the veteran skipper about an everyday lineup, and he didn’t hesitate to give me an answer. Pavusek said if he had to put a lineup out on the field today, it would include Ben Howard on the mound, Asa Lewis at first, Mason Bragg at second base, Peyton Pavusek and Bradley Livorsi getting some work in at short, Matthew Noyer at third base, Petie behind the plate, Ethan Icenhour in left, Stacy Greer in center and Colton Logg or either Dalton Brown in right.

Lewis returns from an injury that sidelined him for the final two weeks of the season last year after hitting a remarkable .509 his freshman campaign. He, along with fellow sophomore Ethan Icenhour, adjusted well in the starting lineup as freshmen.

That will likely be the case with Peyton Pavusek, who showed his ability to be an outstanding player in middle school last year.Moyer has raised some eyebrows hitting with his ability to hit the long ball in practice. According to Pavusek, he couldn’t have gotten a better fit.

“He will play third when Bradley Livorisi is pitching and first when Asa is on the mound,” added Pavusek. “The boy can flat out hit, and he is sure-handed. I can’t wait to see how he performs in a game. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit for this team as in what we needed plus he’s a good kid too.”

Pavusek will need Moyer and others for his team to raise their level of player in what is expected to be a very tough conference this year.

He knows what to expect
“You know Elizabethton will be good and usually Unicoi, Sullivan East, and Sullivan South. It’s hard to say and not sell anyone short because the league is so dang good. We will need some solid pitching and timely hitting to win games. These kids want to perform well, and I think the ski is the limit for them. They are the type of kids that will make Johnson County proud. I believe that they will do some really good things. We always seem to be able to sneak up and surprise somebody. I wouldn’t put us last this year.”

The Longhorns will open up play on Monday, March 9, Sullivan Central, at 5 pm. Their first home game will be on Tuesday, March 10, against the Cougars at what should be Pete Pavusek Park on March 10 at 5 pm.