Rangers edge 'Horns

By Tim Chambers

   The weather outside was more suited for ducks than baseball but Unaka and Johnson County managed to get in eight innings of baseball Monday afternoon at Claude Holsclaw Field. Travis Pasquale raced home on a wild pitch after lacing a double down the right-field line to give Unaka a hard-fought 4-3 win.
   "I had not been hitting good in practice so it was good to break out of my slump," stated Pasquale. "It was a lot of fun today."
   The game was a pitchers duel between Unaka's Randy Swearingen and Johnson County's Michael Davis until the third inning. Johnson County struck first in the top of the third after two outs.
   Davis reached on an error to set the stage for Nathan Paisley who sent a Swearingen fast ball over the left field wall for a 2-0 lead.
   Unaka struck back in the bottom of the fourth as Daniel McInturff clubbed a solid single. He proceeded to steal second and third before coming home on a wild pitch to account for the Ranger's first run.
   Unaka took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Terry Tabor lined a two-out single to left. Brent Huskins stepped to the plate and took one yard to right centerfield for a two-run homer.
   "He just happen to throw one in my spot and I connected with it," stated Huskins.
   Johnson County tied the score in the sixth innings thanks to a double by Matt Peters and a single to right by Brian Bauguess.
   Swearingen pitched through the seventh as did Davis. Chad Lewis came on in relief of Swearingen and pitched well. After giving up a single, Lewis managed to get three out, two by way of strikeouts.
   With darkness approaching in the bottom of the eight Pasquale double was followed by McInturff being hit by a pitch. Jeff Brinker in relief of Davis managed to strike out Ryan Bowers.
   Josh Church laid down a nifty sacrifice placing runners at second and third with two outs. With one strike on the batter, Brinker's breaking ball missed the mark and Pasquale scored by the skin of his teeth.
   Lewis earned the win in relief of Swearingen while Brinker took the loss. Swearingen gave up four hits and struck out 13 while walking only two.
   Lewis and Pasquale each went 3 for 4. Huskins had the two-run bomb.
   "We still have a few tweaks to work out," said Lewis. "When we get Rusty (Chambers), Tee (Blevins), Tyler (McCann) and Cody (Collins) back from basketball we should be a very good team.
   "I wish they were here but I sure hope they win the state."
   Paisley and Bauguess accounted for two hits each to place the Longhorns. Paisley's home run accounted for two RBIs.
   "This time of the year you take them anyway you can get them," said head coach Mike "Acie" Ensor. "With basketball's success we haven't been able to put up the nets in the gym to hit, so we are behind a few weeks.
   "We don't have the luxury of indoor batting cages."
   When ask if he was looking forward to getting the basketball players back, Ensor replied: "The Ranger in me wants to see them go down there and win the state tournament, but the coach in me wants to always have my best players out on the field that gives us the best chance to win.
   "You can bet that I will be in Murfreesboro on the front row pulling for those boys."