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Young Longhorns gain weekend experience

Haley Rider had two hits versus T.A. Dugger.

By Tim Chambers

It wasn’t the outcome that Johnson County wanted, but the seventh grade team played well in a pair of games against varsity competition over the weekend.
They nearly knocked off T.A. Dugger before falling 7-6. They also lost to a very good Gray squad 10-7.
Faith Walsh, Haley Rider and Sarah Rider had two hits each against the Cyclones. Jayla Gregg drove in four runs and was 1-3. Montana Pugh collected the other base hit.
“We played very well against TA Dugger,” added Reece.  “For our junior varsity group to play them to a one-run game, considering the lack of experience we have, was satisfying. Hailie Reece pitched very well, and Jayla Gregg was great behind the plate. We were pretty efficient on the bases, but we still left multiple runners on.”
Hailey Cox, Jayla Gregg and Halie Reece had two hits apiece in the loss to Gray. Sydni Potter drove in three runs and was 1-3. Kiyasha Clemmons, Montana Pugh and Sarah Rider collected one hit each.
“We want to thank Coach Kenny Hardin for putting on this tournament,” said JCMS’ head coach Greg Reece.  “He has a lot going on but finds the time and resources to do this. It is a big benefit to all of our programs.”
Reece liked the fact that some of his kids got to play against varsity competition for the first time.
“We took our junior varsity team so they could play in a tournament against good teams,” added Reece. “You always want to win, and it stings when you have two close losses like that, but we have to learn how to get back up and fight harder. I know that Erin Miller and Abby Reece are working on more ideas to help us develop the attitude that we need.”
The Longhorns ran out of steam against Bluff City Middle School on Saturday.
“The teams we played were all quality opponents, but some of our young players need to develop some toughness in order to compete in these situations,” said Reece.  “The low point was getting in a deep hole early against a strong Bluff City MS team. Coach Timbs has done a great job with that program, and it shows. They were hitting everything we threw it seemed like.”