By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
The middle school Lady Longhorns played three outstanding games on Saturday which allowed them to walk away with the championship trophy in the Grandview Invitational Softball Tournament. Johnson County took down Colonial Heights 13-7 in the championship game after defeating Bluff City 18-15 in a wild and whacky semi-final game.
Johnson County 12
Colonial Heights 7
The Longhorns got revenge in the title game by knocking off the undefeated Chargers after falling to them 8-5 on Thursday.
Johnson County scored three times in the second inning and added two more in the third that enabled them to move in front 5-4.
Faith Walsh had a 2-run single in the second inning that got the ball rolling then Hannah Fritts doubled in two more during the third frame.
“We came out relaxed and played well early,” said JMCS’ skipper Greg Reece. We had some mental mistakes that allowed them to come back and take the lead but this was our third game of the day. Our kids have a lot of pride, and they’re a good team, and so is Colonial Heights. It’s was hard fought contest all the way.”
The Chargers bounced back to take a 6-5 lead in the fifth, but the Horns surged back with two more in the sixth frame to go back in front 7-6 on RBI singles by Sydni Potter and Hailey Rider. Colonial Heights tied the game with a solo run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Horns saved their best for last. They erupted for five runs in the extra frame to push their advantage at 12-7.
Jayla Gregg roped a 2-run double then RBI singles from Haley Cox, Hailey Rider, and Potter would give them plenty of insurance.
Autumn Lewis, who came on in the sixth inning slammed the door shut on the mound in the bottom half allowing Johnson County to walk away with the championship trophy.
Lewis was credit with the win. Hailey Rider tossed the first five innings.The Longhorns banged out 14 hits with Hailey Rider collecting four of those. Walsh had a monster game going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Cox, Potter, and Fritts added two hits and two RBI’s each. Gregg was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI’s. Reece was elated about how his team gutted it out in the final frame.
“Our ladies really rose to the occasion. We went to the international tiebreaker in the eighth and scored five in the top half which took a lot of pressure off our defense. Lewis struck out the first batter, and then Fritts turned a great double play at short. We just got out of the way and let the kids play loose. Sometimes you’ve just got to do that.”
Izzy Musick led the Lady Chargers with three hits while Olivia DeLung chipped in with a pair.
Johnson County 18
Bluff City 15
Reaching the championship contest didn’t come easy for the Lady Longhorns. They needed 25 hits that enabled them to muster 18 runs to knock off the Lady Grizzlies 18-15 in the semifinal contest.
The Longhorns led 9-0 after their first two at-bats, but Bluff City exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the second to cut the deficit at 9-8.
Johnson County extended their lead at 11-8 in the third on a 2-run single by Sydni Potter, but Bluff City fought back to go in front 13-11 by scoring five times in the third. Both teams scored twice in the fifth that kept the Grizzlies on top 15-13, but it was all Johnson County after that.Faith Walsh blasted a 2-run triple in the sixth inning that tied the game while the Rider girls, Hailey and Sarah connected on RBI singles that put the Horns in front in front to stay 17-15.
Haley Rider’s run-scoring single in the seventh was all that insurance the Horns needed to pull off their dramatic come-from-behind victory.
Walsh provided a huge bulk of the offense going 5-for-5 with two triples, three RBI’s and Potter amassed four hits, and three RBI’s to help the cause. Hailey Cox, Hailey Rider, and Jayla Gregg produced three hits apiece. Sarah Rider, Hannah Fritts, and Autumn Lewis contributed two apiece. Autumn Shepherd provided a base hit and scored. Head coach Greg Reece summed up the victory.
“We had a chance to put the game away early, but we made a couple of mistakes allowing Bluff City to regain the momentum and retake
the lead. Our team didn’t quit. The battled back, and I was worried that we had used up all our energy. We told the girls there was no pressure going into the championship game that it was all on them. I’m super proud of their efforts.”
Johnson County 13
The Longhorns rode the outstanding pitching performances of Hailey Rider and Autumn Lewis to knocking off the host team after losing to them last year.Hannah Fritts and Hailey Cox had three hits each to lead the Lady Longhorns. Jayla Gregg, Hailey Rider, and Autumn Lewis provided two hits apiece as the Horns totaled 15 in the five-inning contest.
Johnson County 11
South Central 5
Jayla Gregg went 3-3 with two RBI’s to lead the Horns to their first win on Thursday. The team played three games back-to-back due to testing issues and travel.Hailey Cox added a pair of hits and four RBI’s. Hailey Rider chipped in with two doubles and pitched all five innings to earn the win.
Colonial Heights 8
The Horns only loss in the tournament was to the Chargers 8-5 in pool play on Thursday. The Chargers outhit JCMS 13-8.
Faith Walsh and Jayla Gregg had two hits each to lead the Lady Horns. Hailey Cox and Walsh drove in a pair of runs apiece.
Sullivan Gardens 0
Hannah Fritts twirled a 3-hitter with seven strikeouts to lead the Horns to victory in this one.
Faith Walsh and Sydni Potter drove in a pair of runs each. Potter had two hits including a double and triple.
Eighth Grade Night
Johnson County 20
The Longhorns took a break from the Grandview tournament on Friday to battle Hampton in a conference game. They celebrated the eighth-grade night with a 20-3 win over the Bulldogs. Kristen Day picked up the win on the mound. She allowed only two hits and struck out eight.The Hailey’s provided a large portion of the offense. Hailey Cox had a pair of hits and drove in a whopping six runs. Hailey Rider was 4-for-3 with three RBI’s and three runs scored. Sydni Potter belted three hits and tallied three RBI’s. Faith Walsh and Sarah Rider contributed a pair of hits. Jayla Gregg, Ashley Anderson and Day collected one apiece.