Longhorns spoil Rebels' home finale

Jeff Birchfield • Apr 27, 2018 at 9:06 PM

KINGSPORT - Jayden Joiner was the difference in more ways than one for Johnson County in a 3-1 win at Sullivan South on Friday evening.

Joiner gave up only three hits on the mound, hit Johnson County's first triple of the season and made the most spectacular defensive play in the field as the Longhorns spoiled the Rebels' home finale.

"It was a good effort by Jayden Joiner," Johnson County coach Pete Pavusek said. "He pitched well and kept them off-balance. They never got anything going and it was a good win for us."

Joiner was also responsible for the game's two defining moments. He dove over catcher Petie Pavusek to come up with a pop-up to end the fifth inning. In the top of the sixth, he swatted a two-run triple to score Shane Greer and Josh Tierney.

"I knew I just needed to put the ball in play with two outs," Joiner said. "I'm glad I found a hole."

The Longhorns' first run came on a RBI double by Greer to score Johnny Arnold. Johnson County improved to 6-11 overall and 3-8 in the Three Rivers Conference. South fell to 9-12 and 4-7.

"We played one of our best games this year," Joiner said. "We struggled early, but we picked it up when we needed to."

South scored one run in the bottom of the sixth when Cory Williams and Drew Creech hit back-to-back singles, followed by a walk by Gavin Parker and then a wild pitch by Joiner. It was a rare miscue, while the Rebels coach Anthony Richardson was pleased with Williams' own efforts on the mound. He went six innings before Parker closed it out in the seventh.

Creech had two of the Rebels' three hits.

"Cory threw well. You can't beat too many people when you score one run and have three hits," Richardson said. "Their pitcher had one of his better outings, but that's baseball."

Joiner's wild pitch was a rarity. He was aided by the younger Pavusek at catcher, who was determined not to let anything else get past him.

"He blocks it up well," Coach Pavusek said. "When our pitchers have to throw dirt balls in order to get an out pitch, it's good to have a catcher who can block it up."

The teams are scheduled to play again Monday in Mountain City. If South wins, they will play Sullivan Central in the first round of the District 1-AA tournament. A loss will mean another game against Johnson County in the district.

"We definitely left room for improvement for next week." Richardson said. "It's out there in front of us. We'll just have to see what happens."

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