By Matt Hill
JCHS Freshmen leftfielder Linnea Yongue saw her first significant varsity action last Tuesday night and came up to bat against University High with the Lady Longhorns 4-4 in the third inning of the second game of a doubleheader.
This was no ordinary at bat. Yongue came up with a purpose and she delivered.
Yongue had the go ahead RBI and the Lady Longhorns went on to win 8-5 in the second annual Pink softball game to raise money for breast cancer research.
The Lady Longhorns won the first game 3-2 in extra innings.
Yongue couldnt have picked a better game for her breakout game. The Lady Longhorns were playing for a cause. Actually, they were playing for a cure for cancer.
This was really good because we maybe can help find a cure for cancer, Yongue said. It was a great game for both teams and Im just glad we played good tonight. We were playing for a reason.
The explanation point was put on by Eden Smith, who hit her third varsity home run in a week and her fourth overall in a week when she belted one out to bring the game to its final score at 8-4.
Game one was special for JCHS too as the Lady Longhorns sent the scheduled five inning game to extra innings when Sam Mahala doubled in two runs, then in the sixth Rebecca Royston singled in Haley Miller.
We played better our second game than we did the first game as far as our hitting, JCHS head coach Dana Smith said. Defensively we had a couple of errors, but as many balls hit to the ground and in the air, I was glad we took care of most of them and thats what we need to do.
Yongue made Smith so proud with her clutch performance in such a big game.
Linnea works hard, Smith said. Shes one of the most improved people I have because she works so hard. Shes here when nobody else is. Our freshmen are doing amazing things.
The JCHS softball program is also doing amazing things as far as raising money for this horrible illness. The money this year will go to a local foundation headed up by Flo Bellamy.
The money will go to a relay for life foundation here, Smith said. Its going to stay local from now on.
There have been several people involved in Longhorn sports who have been touched by cancer.
This is so close to our hearts, Smith said. This is something weve always wanted to do.
Some of the highlights of the night were Ashley Arnold getting on base four times, Rebecca Royston having four hits, Lizzie Dugger had a solid night with two hits and Sam Mahala earned the win.
The JCMS Softball Team opened the day with a 12-7 win over Ashe County.
JCMS received outstanding hitting efforts from Brooke Garr and Rachel Poteet, who combined for five hits.
The Lady Longhorns fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first, then settled down to pretty much cruise the rest of the way.
This group is very resilient and they never think theyre out of the game, JCMS head coach Greg Reece said. They dont really change a lot of things offensively and we dont try to change what we do as far as how we handle runners. Ashe County has a scrappy team. We responded well.
Reece was very happy to have the middle school be a part of this special night.
Were really thankful to the high school program for working with us like this and for them being as encouraging as they are to our girls and trying to build this program up, Reece said. Dana Smith and Lisa Mullins have been great to us and we appreciate everything theyve done.
On a personal level, a lot of our kids have had a family member touched by cancer and Ive had it in my family and to raise some money for cancer and for research and for the victims of cancer Im all for it.