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Longhorns top off winning streak with victory over Sullivan Central

The Johnson County Longhorns topped off a spectacular winning streak with a big victory over the visiting Sullivan Central Cougars Friday evening. For the third consecutive time, the Longhorns put down a team that had defeated them earlier in the season. Coach Pete Pavusek seemed very happy with the team’s performance but also attributed some of the success to the sport’s unpredictable nature. “You know, teams and seasons have a lot of ups and downs. We’ve had some downs but right now we’re in an up. It’s a roller coaster ride every time you take the field. Every year you just never know what’s going to happen. It’s just like with a hitter, sometimes you go into a slump and sometimes you’re hot as fire. It’s a humbling game. Some days you can be on top of the world and knock off a really good team and next day you roll right over and lay an egg. You don’t know what to expect, but we’re playing well right now. I’m pleased.”
Unusual for a winning game, Johnson County started off slow, running through the first two innings without even taking base. Things got a little better in the third, with Ryan Smith eventually taking second base and Judd Hammons gaining first off a hit by the pitcher, but coming into the fourth inning, things did not seem to be going well at all for the Longhorns.
The only positive was that the Cougars were having about the same luck against Johnson County’s defense. After two outs from catches in the outfield and a last strikeout, Central moved into the second inning with no runs on the board. Their next go at bat had very similar results, except that they received back to back outs off of short hits, caught in the infield.
Things began to change in the fourth inning, thankfully in Johnson County’s favor, with Daniel Helm making a run off a strong double into the left field. Stealing third, Helm was eventually batted in by Ryan Mahala, who made it as far as third base, along with Jacob Henson on second. Unfortunately the Longhorns could not take home again in the inning, with a final two outs coming off of catches in the infield.
Ahead by only one run, Johnson County made a strong effort in the fifth to put some distance against the competition, and was met with success. Beginning with a hit by Andy Stout to take first, the Longhorns were handed outs by the next two batters, but managed to hang on to make their biggest gains in the game. With Stout stealing second, Daniel Helm made a hit that eventually allowed him to cross home plate, giving the Longhorns their second run. Helm was then batted in along with Harley Reece, by a hit from Ryan Mahala. Getting as far as third, Mahala might have been the fourth run for the inning but was cut short by a third out against the batter.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.