The Johnson County Longhorns were able to lay claim to a narrow victory over the Hampton Bulldogs despite an ominous sky that ended up resulting in a lengthy delay to the game. Winning by just one run late in the game, the Longhorns faced a much tougher team of Bulldogs at the first official home game of the season. Yet, after two tough losses earlier in the week, Johnson County was ready to change their fortune and thanks to a couple of well placed hits and a lot of hustle, the Longhorns earned a final score of 6-5.
For Coach Pete Pavusek the change was a welcome one. The whole game was a good game, and fun to watch, other than the rain, thunder, and lighting. I thought we hit it well and we played good defense. We got good pitching; it was just a good game all around, he said. The game started off on a fairly even footing, with both teams making hits and gaining runs. Hampton led initially, pulling ahead by one at the end of the first inning and picking up another in the second. Johnson County, on the other hand, began to fall behind until the third inning where they got back on their feet after gaining three runs thanks to a big hit and an RBI from Jacob Henson.
Henson came back in the 5th inning with the biggest hit of the night, earning him a home run and tying the score 5-5. Hampton put up a good fight, but thanks to some strong defensive action the Longhorns were able to keep the bulldogs from crossing home plate for the last three innings of the game. The Bulldogs tenacity during the game seemed to impress Pavusek. They are solid. They played good defense and they get pretty decent pitching. They have a couple of kids that can hit it pretty good. Theyre just much improved. A couple of years past Hampton has been an easy win, but not now. Theyre tough. It was everything we could do to scratch out a win. We really had to work and earn that last run, he said.
Fortunately the Longhorns did manage one last run late in the sixth inning, ultimately providing the final win. Of course, the game might have ended much differently if not for some well rounded pitching by Ryan Mahala and Andy Woods, who managed to strike out four batters each. The real win ultimately went to the whole team, with players like Chad Hodgekiss helping to more than double the Bulldogs in number of hits, and a strong group of catchers helping to ensure that Hampton did not score in the last 4 innings of the game. With a well balanced team overall, hopefully this win is just the beginning of many more to come.
Final Score: Johnson County 6, Hampton 5