Johnson County’s baseball season could be best described using a few lines from the Gomer Pyle show. The fruitcake marine would say, “surprise, surprise, surprise” or “shazam” when he was amazed by something.
It’s been just that kind of year for the Longhorns who continue to defy the odds and “amaze” the naysayers who picked them to finish last before the season begin. And they saved the best for this past week.
The Longhorns swept Unicoi County 5-1 and 11-5 on Tuesday for the first time in head coach Pete Pavusek’s 24-year career. The 2012 squad had a pair of wins over the Blue Devils but not a regular-season sweep.
Getting overlooked is nothing new for Pavusek who currently has 335 career victories to his credit; the most among active coaches in Northeast Tennessee and all have come as the Longhorns’ skipper. Having the field named in his honor is something that should have been done long ago because he’s given Johnson County 24 years of his life and has to compete with the likes of football and basketball, which gets overlooked sometimes by the marquee sports like football and basketball but not this past week.
It all started in Erwin on Tuesday when they shocked the Big Blue Nation with a 5-1 victory.
Jayden Joiner was dynamite on the mound allowing just one run, six hits while recording ten strikeouts and walking only one.
Weston Throop hit a home run in the sixth inning to put the game on ice. He had two hits in the game along with freshman first baseman Asa Lewis. The Longhorns’ defense played mistake-free baseball behind the battery of Joiner and Petie Pavusek.
Throop had three RBI’s in the game while Stacy Greer and Ben Howard added key base hits that drove in a run.
But the fun had just begun.
Horns follow up with an 11-5 win.
They came back on Wednesday and beat them again 11-5 after Unicoi County had jumped in front 3-0.
Senior Reese Stout was driving with four RBI’s and three base hits. He had a mammoth double in the fourth inning and singled in a couple of insurance runs in the sixth.
Ben Howard, freshman Ethan Icenhour, and Petie Pavusek all had RBI base hits in the game. Icenhour’s single plated two runners.
Howard was a force on the mound allowing four hits and five runs in his complete-game effort to earn the win. The Longhorns banged out 15 hits with Jayden Joiner, and Stout who had three each. Asa Lewis and Bradley Livorsi chipped in with two apiece.
Head coach Pete Pavusek summed up the two wins with some classic quotes.
“These two wins were for all the people that faced the heartache against Unicoi County baseball all these years,” said Pavusek. “It’s for all the current players and the past players and their families. It’s a sweep milestone for Johnson County baseball.”
Longhorns add icing on the cake 7-0 win at Hampton
The Longhorns rode the excellent pitching performance by Bradley Livorsi to victory in their win over the pesky Bulldogs. The junior righty allowed only three hits with nine strikeouts and only one walk.
The Longhorns used singles by Stacy Greer, Livorsi, Ben Howard and Jayden Joiner to account for two runs in the fourth inning to break a scoreless deadlock.
They added four more runs in the fifth that extended their lead at 5-0. Livorsi ripped a three-run triple scoring Petie Pavusek who was hit by a pitch and Reese Stout and Weston Throop who drew walks.
Ben Howard then singled home Livorsi for a 6-0 advantage.
The Horns added an insurance run in the following frame after Stacy Greer singled and later scored.
The Bulldogs under the guidance of Johnson County’s native Coach Nick Perkins got a stellar pitching performance by freshman Caleb Royston who allowed just three runs and five hits in four-plus innings.
Howard, Livorsi, and Greer had two hits each for the Longhorns. Pavusek was 1-for-2 with an RBI and run scored.
Josh Owens, Landon Street, and Caleb collected one hit apiece for the Dogs.
District Tournament time
The Longhorns (6-6, 13-8) will play Unicoi County on Friday in the first round of the District Tournament at Joe O’Brien Field in Elizabethton. Game time is at 7:30 p.m.
past Holston 6-5
Nothing could be any better than snatching a win out of the jaws of defeat such as Johnson County did Monday afternoon on senior day. Ethan Icenhour delivered a walk-off single that allowed them to win a dramatic 6-5 contest over neighboring Holston High School.
The Longhorns trailed 5-4 going into their final at bat but rallied to score two times.
Holston scored three times in the sixth inning to go up 5-4. Levi Price, Chase Taylor and Chandler Long all drove in runs that allowed them to erase a 4-2 deficit.
Stacy Greer got hit by a pitch to start the Longhorns’ seventh. Greer later scored on Bradley Livorsi’s fielder’s choice to tie the game at 5-5. Icenhour then drove home Livorsi with the winning run with two outs.
Ben Howard pitched the final four innings to earn the win. He allowed five hits, three runs and struck out four.
Jayden Joiner started the game for the Longhorns going three innings with three strikeouts and allowed two runs before giving way to Howard.
Asa Lewis had a remarkable day going 3-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. Icenhour, Weston Throop, Howard and Reese Stout had the only other hits for the Longhorns.
Seven players had one hit apiece for Holston.