Longhorns rout ‘Landers

Published 8:21 am Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Three Rivers Baseball Conference’s powerhouse, the Johnson County Longhorns, came to Roan Mountain on Friday, and by the time they left the mountain, they had proven why they are undefeated this season.

Guided by an excellent pitching outing from Johnson County’s Bradley Livorsi, the Longhorns defeated Cloudland 17-0 and continued their winning streak.

It was all Johnson County all night as they got the job done on defense and at bat. The scoring began in the first inning when Johnson County’s lead-off batter, Jayden Joiner, hit a double that bounced off third base. The next Johnson County batter, Ben Howard, reached base when Cloudland’s shortstop bobbled the ball and did not make the throw to first in time.

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After Petie Pavusek hit a grounder that scored one of the runners, Johnson County’s Reis Stout hit a two-run homerun, and the rout was on.  After the next batter singled and stole second, the Longhorn’s, Weston Throop, hit the second homerun of the inning, scoring two more runs. Before the inning was over, Johnson County would go on to score ten runs and take a 10-0 score into the second inning.

After Johnson County added two more runs in the top of the second, Cloudland started showing some signs of life in the batter’s box. The rally started when Cloudland’s Dillon Johnson reached base when the shortstop’s throw to first was late. Cloudland’s Hunter Blair then hit a single that almost hit the pitcher, and Johnson County’s Livorsi walked the next batter, loading the bases. Livorsi kept his composure, however, and struck out the next two batters, ending the inning, stranding three of Cloudland’s base runners, and holding on to a 12-0 score.

Neither team was able to do much damage in the third inning, but the Longhorn’s bats got hot again in the top of the fourth when they scored two more runs on singles and Cloudland fielding errors.

Johnson County scored three more runs in the top of the fifth to end all of the scoring at 17-0.

Johnson County’s Coach Pete Pavusek was pleased with his team’s performance, but he feels they are still a long way from being able to really compete in the Three River’s Conference. “We have been playing good,” said Pavusek. “We are just trying to get ready for conference play against teams like Sullivan Central, Sullivan South and Elizabethton.

“We hit well, but we have to have more than two pitchers if we are going to really compete,” added Pavusek. “Livorsi is our go-to guy, but you can’t win in this conference with just two pitchers.”

Meanwhile, it is back to the drawing board for Cloudland, but Cloudland’s Coach Rhodes still found some positive things to take from this game.

“Our pitchers threw strikes, and we did not have many walks after the first inning,” said Rhodes.  “We just have to avoid the big inning, avoid the errors and keep it close, and we will win some games.”

Cloudland did have four players who had hits during the game. Brayden Christman, Hunter Blair, Dillon Johnson, and Sam Birchfield. For Birchfield, it was his first hit in high school baseball.

Cloudland will play at home on Monday, Mar. 25,  against the Tri-Cities Flame (a home-school team), and Johnson County’s next game is at home against Sullivan East.