Warriors pummel 'Horns

By Marvin Birchfield

STAR CORRESPONDENT

   Leading the bull by the horns and being hauled away from the green pastures of Mountain City to the dreaded slaughter house in the valley, the Johnson County Longhorns were butchered by the Warriors on Monday by a Watauga Conference final of 13-2 at Cannon-Gouge Park.
   It was Happy Valley grinding away at the mound and trimming the fat on the plate, which cooked the Longhorns in a well-done game.
   "We've been hitting the ball better lately and putting it in play," said Happy Valley coach Greg Hyder. 'Some guys have been stepping up, and this is the time to do so."
   The Warriors turned on the heat in the first inning, as Tim Whaley knocked a double after Johnson County had retired the first two batters.
   Cody Cannon followed with another double to drive in the Warriors' first score, with Whaley crossing the plate.
   The next batter was Dan Back, who ripped a hit down the left-field line to bring home pinch-runner Shannon Buchanan, giving the Warriors an early 2-0 advantage.
   "We have to continue to get better and play hard and that's what we've been doing," said Hyder.
   The Longhorns' only hit came in the top of the second when Judd Townsend made contact to earn a double, but the Longhorns were unable to capitalize with Britton Brumit striking out the next two batters.
   "I kept it down all day and hit my spots, and we didn't have to play that much defense," said Brumit.
   Happy Valley started carving up the Longhorn defense in the second frame by adding five additional runs to its lead.
   The first run crossed when Cody Whitlock hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Ryan Toney. From there, a walk with the bases loaded and Cannon being hit by a pitch enabled Jon Harrison and Lamar Rollins to score.
   A shot from Shaun Baer over the outstretched pitcher's hand and up the middle scored both Whaley and Buchanan, increasing the Warrior lead to 7-0.
   The Longhorns finally answered with a pair of runs in the top of the third, after a couple of errors were committed by the Warriors.
   The first one came when a ball hit from Jon Westpaul took an awkward bounce to get past the shortstop.
   Another hit from Michael Reid reflected off the third baseman to score Westpaul for the Longhorns' first score.
   A sacrifice fly from Joe Atwood drove in the second run with Junior Paisley coming home.
   The Warriors blasted back in the bottom of the frame, after a couple of hits dropped in a seemingly confused out-field.
   A hit from Whitlock and errant throw to first base allowed Toney to score.
   Then Whaley made a prime choice cut on a pitch from Paisley as the ball sailed over the left-field fence and into Buffalo Creek.
   "You just have to keep your head in and wait on your pitch, and I opened up and drove it," said Whaley.
   The home run drove in Rollins and Whitlock, upping the Warrior lead to 11-2 after three frames.
   Whaley finished the night going two for two, including a double, while picking up three RBIs and scoring three runs.
   "The team had us pumped up, and I went out and battled the best I could," said Whaley.
   Brumit started finding his range the more the game wore on, as he struck-out five batters in a row at one point, all three of them in the fourth and eight overall.
   "I was just basically giving everything I had and tried to get it over with so we could go to the house," said Brumit.
   The Warriors added two runs in the bottom of the fourth, after Rollins crushed a triple to right center-field scoring Toney.
   The last run of the contest came when Whitlock ripped a single to right-center bringing home Rollins.
   In the last frame, the Longhorns continued to struggle from the plate, as they had not came up with a hit since the second inning.
   "We were going out there and swinging around at anything, and we're a whole lot better team than that," said Johnson County coach Pete Pavusek.
   The game ended with the Warriors turning a double play, after Harrison made the stop and throw from the shortstop position.
   "Our pitching has been all right the past couple of weeks, but we just can't get any hits," said Pavusek.