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Tough start to season as Uncoi Blue Devil trounce Longhorns 13-3

It was another tough evening for the Johnson County Longhorns as they took to the road to meet the Unicoi County Blue Devils. Despite an early start that saw both teams on even footing, a devastating third inning left the Longhorns far enough behind that officials called for a mercy rule ending following the fifth inning. Considering how the season has started, Coach Pete Pavusek was understandably a little disappointed. “We’re not playing very well right now. We’ve got to weather the storm and gradually get better because right now we’re not a very good team. That’s part of baseball, part of growing up, and part of moving along in the season.”
Neither team managed to gain a run in the first inning but was able to tie up 2-2 in the second. Senior Harley Reece did very well at bat, going 3-3 and nailing a double that resulted in a run later in the game. However, Daniel Helm claimed the big hit of the night landing his first career home run as a Longhorn and picking up two runs in the top of the second inning, making Johnson County first on the score board.
At that early stage there was every indicator that the Longhorns might have a good chance of coming out on top against the highly rated Blue Devils. Yet, mistakes early in the third inning began to set the pace for the game, and as Pavusek noted, Unicoi is quick to pick up any opportunity. “You have to play seven innings with Unicoi. I’ve come over here and won before but you have to play seven solid innings. Any kind of mistakes here are costly. It’s a small ball park with a short fence out there in outfield, any mistake and you give the other team an inning and they are going to score.”
The big issue became trouble in the outfield, with several big Unicoi hits that left the Longhorn outfielders scrambling toward the fence, and costing several runs that could have been outs. Likewise, many of Johnson County’s hits, especially with more than one runner on base, could have racked up on the scoreboard, but were put down by a strong Unicoi outfield.
For the complete story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.