A six-run second inning was a sign of things to come for Johnson County.
The Longhorns’ offense, led by a 9-of-14 effort from the top half of its lineup, was too much for Hampton to overcome in a 12-2 win in five innings Thursday at Bulldog Field.
“We just made a few adjustments in the box and we hit well,” said Johnson County coach Pete Pavusek. “We had to keep from lifting it and hit down through the ball. It was good offensive production.”
Hampton had its opportunities offensively with six runners left stranded, four of which was in scoring position, but Johnson County’s defense did its job executing and keeping additional runs off the board.
“I kind of felt like we were going to be strong defensively back at the beginning of the season,” Pavusek said. “I just hope we continue to get better each game. We’re on the downslope of the season. That’s when you want to start playing the best ball you can play.”
Johnson County was led by a strong overall performance from cleanup hitter Harley Reece, who also pitched the win on the mound. Reece, who struck out four, was 2-for-3 at the plate with a three RBI courtesy of a two-run blast in the fourth and an RBI double in the second.
Dusty Stout tallied a 3-for-4 game in the two spot, scoring twice with an RBI, while Judd Hammons and Daniel Helm added 2-for-3 outings. Hammons drove four runs in with a pair of doubles on top of two runs scored, while Helm scored twice and drove two across the plate.
“Everybody came prepared to hit and had their mind set,” said Reece.
Johnson County opened the game up with its strong second inning.
Ryan Smith followed a Caleb Henson double with an RBI single, then Hammons drove his first two-run double into the ball field. Stout, Helm and Reece each drove one run across the plate with consecutive hits and the rout was on.
The Longhorns added three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings. Helm’s second RBI single was capped by a shot over the left-field fence by Reece in the fourth. Hammons added his second two-run double in the fifth, scoring on Hampton’s lone fielding error.
The Bulldogs got on the board twice with one run in the second and fifth innings. Tristan Robinson doubled and reached on an errant throw in the second, while Mark Ailport tripled and scored on a 6-3 groundout from T.J. Hicks in the latter stanza.
“Their whole lineup, there in the second inning, they just hit the snot out of the ball,” said Hampton coach Matthew Hardin. “We managed to get through the first and third without them scoring. They just hit the ball.
“We left too many runners in scoring position. We had four runners left stranded, that’s four runs and when the other team is hitting the ball like that, you’ve got to score every time you get the chance. That was the story of the day. We didn’t commit many errors. Hat’s off to them, they just hit the ball.”
Ailport, with a 2-for-3 day, was the only Bulldog with a multiple hit day. Taylor Edwards and Robinson each added a double apiece.
Jeffrey Hughis, who pitched the first two innings for Hampton, took the loss on the mound.
The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday with a home conference tilt against University High.
— — —
Johnson Co. 060 33 — 12 12 1
Hampton 010 01 — 2 7 1
W—Reece. L—Hughes. HR—JCHS (Hughes). 3B—Hampton (Ailport). 2B—JCHS (Hammons 2, Reece, Henson), Hampton (Edwards, Robinson).