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Softball tourney provides experience for Lady 'Horns

The Johnson County Lady Longhorns traveled to Knoxville last weekend to take part in the Knox Gibbs Girls Fast Pitch Softball Classic. The second tournament of the season, it was another prime opportunity for the team to try their hand against some large and very talented schools. Unlike their earlier tournament in South Carolina, the brackets for this tournament were already set with officials moving teams around as necessary.
The Lady Longhorns competed in five games in all, going up against Knox Farragut and Knox Gibbs on Friday, and then entering the actual tournament on Saturday with a game against William Blount and South Doyle. The tournament then finished up with a last round against Mount Juliet.
Although the only victory was against South Doyle, Coach Dana Smith was still pleased with Johnson County’s overall experience. “It was a nice tournament for us to see that type of pitching and that type of play. It was a good experience for us. We played some really good teams. Us and Chuckey Doak were the only small schools there. Everyone else was just huge. We saw a lot of talent and a lot of good hitters, but we held our own most of the time,” Smith said.
Both games against Knox Farragut and Knox Gibbs, two of the larger and more talented teams that the Lady Longhorns faced, resulted in tough 0-8 losses, with Gibbs only going for four innings and Farragut five. Farragut landed most of their runs in the first two innings, but despite keeping the Lady Longhorns away from home plate, they could not prevent Abby Reece and Ashley Arnold from eventually reaching third. Gibbs was just the opposite, picking up six of their eight runs in the last inning.
Johnson County’s tough streak continued against Blount, with a 0-6 loss. Abby Reece was able to take second in the first inning, and Haley Miller advanced as far as third after landing a double into left field in the fifth, but otherwise the Lady Longhorns were largely shut out on the offense. Blount made five of their six runs in the first inning, but only scored a single run against Johnson County’s defense in the remainder of the game.
Things finally turned around for the Lady Longhorns in their match up against South Doyle, pulling off a narrow 1-0 victory. Johnson County’s single run began with a base hit by Abby Reece that was eventually batted in by Ashley Arnold. Contact on the ball remained good throughout the game, with Johnson County making 10 hits in all. Three runners made it all the way to third, with one catching an out on the way to home. However, Johnson County’s real strength in the game was in their defense, which kept South Doyle off the board despite a couple of close calls in the fourth and seventh innings.
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