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Middle school softball takes over first place

Mackenzie Poe tags a runner out at second in the JCMS Lady Longhorns’ action against Ashe County at Bob Kirksey Field on Tuesday, April 16.
The Lady Longhorns came from behind that night to beat Ashe County 15-13 on 8th Grade Night. Photos By Tia Thomas

Tomahawk Sports

The Middle School softball team went looking for revenge against Unaka on Stoney Creek and came away with their biggest win of the season. They defeated the Rangers 4-1 to avenge a 1-0 loss at home to Unaka two weeks ago.
Johnson County’s southpaw Hannah Fritts was able to outduel Unaka’s Trinity Bowers to earn the win on the mound.
Fritts ended the game with strikeouts as the Rangers had trouble solving the crafty lefty.
She got plenty of run support from teammate Autumn Lewis who was hotter than a two-dollar pistol with the bat. Lewis drove in all four runs with a pair of singles and a line drive 2-run homer in the seventh inning to give the Horns some cushion room.
Mattie Jones added a pair of hits and scored three times after missing the last two games. Autumn Shepherd had a pair of hits to aid the win.
Audrey Savery and Amy Gunter collected one apiece.

Johnson County 15
Ashe County 13
Hannah Fritts was the toast of the town on eighth-grade night in their dramatic come-from-behind victory. The Longhorns trailed 13-7 going into their final at-bat but rallied in a game for the ages.
Unlike the Mighty Casey at Mudville, Fritts didn’t strike out but instead struck with a vengeance.
She doubled to start the inning then scored on Autumn Lewis’ groundout. Autumn Shepherd reached on an error, Eden Potter then singled into right to score Shepherd, but that was just the beginning.
Kendyl Kleine doubled scoring Shepherd followed by a double off the bat of Harley Potter that plated Kleine cutting the deficit to 13-12.
Zennia Bouchelle and Audrey Savery provided clutch two-out singles setting the stage once again for Fritts who launched a mammoth 3-run walk-off homer of the building in centerfield to complete their remarkable comeback.
Fritts struck out all three batters to start the game on the mound, but the Horns wasted a double by Zennia Bouchelle in the bottom half and failed to score.
Ashe County took a 3-0 lead in the second, but the Horns answered.
Audrey Savery doubled in Aubrie Baird who had singled to get JCMS on the board.
Autumn Lewis led off the third with a line drive single and took second on a passed ball. She scored on a single by Autumn Shepherd who advanced to second on a sizzling shot to short by Amy Gunter. Aubrie Baird calmly stepped to the plate and lined a single into right to score Shepherd and Gunter. Baird took second on the throw from the outfield and advanced to third on a passed ball. She then scored when McKenzie Poe was robbed of a hit the second baseman, which made a diving catch of her laser beam up the middle that left the Horns trailing 6-4.
The Horns were down by eight but kept whittling away at the deficit. Shepherd, Gunter, and Baird all had hits in the sixth inning that cut the deficit at 12-7. That set the stage for their improbable comeback.
Zennia Bouchelle led the offensive attack with three hits, Audrey Savery, Hannah Fritts, and Autumn Shepherd had two hits each. Autumn Lewis, Amy Gunter, Kendyl Klein, Aubrie Baird, and Harley Potter had one hit each.
It was an eighth-grade night that will long be remembered as each one was honored after the game.
NOTE: A special thanks to assistant coach Mark Humphrey who contributed a large portion of this story.