Longhorns continue unbeaten ways

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY -- The Johnson County Longhorn baseball team's record is very similar to somebody's driving record who always does the speed limit.
   It's unblemished.
   The Longhorns improved to 7-0 on the season with a 14-3 triumph over the University High Junior Buccaneers Monday afternoon at Mooney Field.
   "As a coach you always like to see streaks like that," Johnson County head coach Pete Pavusek said. "It just makes coaching easy."
   The Longhorns continued to hit the ball very well on Monday, finishing the afternoon with 13 hits.
   "We hit pretty good I guess," Longhorn first baseman Judd Townsend said. "We're hitting better."
   Pavusek was glad to see his team hit the baseball well again after struggling a little bit last week.
   "We had a couple of letdowns there last week, and didn't hit as well as I thought we should," Pavusek said. "We came out tonight and hit it pretty well. Hopefully, I'll get back in that mood of being pleased with our hitting."
   The Longhorn pitching was also stellar on this afternoon. Senior Chad Reece gave up five hits in five innings, and John Westphal finished off the job by retiring the side during the sixth in a game that ended early due to the mercy rule.
   "Great outing from Chad," Pavusek said. "We've got a lot of ball games, and not a whole lot of time. We need all the pitching we can get. And Chad did a good job for us tonight.
   The Junior Bucs received some bad news early on in the game. Pitcher Daniel Smith, who was very solid on the mound in the top of the first, cut his hand sliding into second base in the bottom half of the inning.
   Smith had to leave the game, but returned to bat in the sixth inning after a trip to the doctor.
   The Longhorns and the Bucs both scored runs in the second inning, and the game was tied at 1-1 going into the top of the third.
   That's when the Longhorns exploded. Johnson County had 11 men come to the plate, and the boys from Mountain City lit up the scoreboard.
   A Junior Paisley single, and walks by Adam Johnson and Reece loaded the bases for Jeff Lewis. The catcher responded with a single that scored two runs to make it a 3-1 Johnson County lead.
   The Longhorns went on to get RBI hits from Adam Leonard, Joe Atwood and Jon Arnold. Paisley finished off the remarkable inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Arnold to give the Longhorns a commanding 8-1 advantage.
   Pavusek thought it was an excellent third inning.
   "It's good for us," Pavusek said about the breakout innings. "I hate starting out and it being close. I like to jump out in those early innings, and get a bunch of runs quick."
   University High head coach Joe Borden was hoping his team would respond better to Smith's absence.
   "For some reason we didn't respond to the need to step up," Borden said. "We did the inning he left, but in the third inning we did what we normally do and that's give up the big inning."
   Townsend continued the Longhorn scoring barrage in the fourth with a two-run homer to make it a 10-1 game.
   "I was just glad to hit the ball," Townsend said.
   The Longhorns held a 10-3 advantage going into the top of the sixth when they exploded for four more runs. Hits by Atwood, Arnold and McQueen all drove in runs to bring the game to its final score of 14-3.
   The Longhorns closed it out in the bottom of the sixth to take their second victory over the Junior Bucs in a week.
   University High had Johnson County's full attention. The Junior Bucs played the Longhorns a very tight game in Mountain City on Thursday.
   "They're a good team," Townsend said. "We had to come out, and get on top, and hit the ball."
   The Longhorns were led in hitting by Joe Atwood and Jon Arnold, who both finished the afternoon with three hits.
   Atwood has just recently entered the starting lineup, and is taking advantage of his opportunity.
   "He was all over the ball," Pavusek said. "He's always been that. As long as I've known him, ever since he was just a little rugrat he's hit. He always seems to get on somehow."
   Jeff Lewis had two hits to add to the Longhorn attack.
   Drew Harrell had a very nice day for the Junior Buccaneers, as he also finished with two hits.
   The Longhorns will look to keep their unbeaten record alive when they go up against Watauga Conference foe Sullivan Central today.
   "We're going to have to come out there and do like we did against Happy Valley," Pavusek said. "We're going to have to get good defense, get good pitching, and hit the ball. We're looking forward to it."