By Rick Sheek
MOUNTAIN CITY — Johnson County was on top of its game.
Happy Valley was far from it.
The Longhorns hammered the Warriors 10-1 on Tuesday in Three Rivers Conference baseball action.
“We didn’t come prepared,” Happy Valley coach Caleb Moore said. “We didn’t come ready to play.”
Johnson County’s Ryan Mahala fired a three-hitter and struck out nine with two walks. The Warriors (1-7, 1-5) committed four errors, while six different Longhorns delivered multiple hits.
“That’s kind of what I expect from them,” Johnson County coach Pete Pavusek said. “We’ve had a pretty tough start to the season, and hopefully this will jump-start us and get us going in the right direction.”
After Mahala sent Happy Valley down 1-2-3 to begin the afternoon, the Longhorns (4-5, 2-4) punched in four runs in the first inning. Judd Hammons led off with a double, and following a Chad Hodgkins single Jacob Henson belted a two-run double.
With two out, Mahala and Andy Stout ripped run-scoring singles. Courtesy runner River Lazire stole two bases that at-bat.
Hammons unleashed a solo home run in the second, extending the advantage to 5-0. A Longhorn was stranded on third base.
Happy Valley’s Justin Reagan broke up the no-hit bid to start the third, advanced to second on an error, and was stranded. The bottom half of that inning, Harley Reece slammed a solo homer and Dusty Stout’s run-scoring single made it 7-0.
Second baseman Caleb Rice, shortstop Justin Maupin and first baseman Aaron Renfro hooked up to turn a double play for Happy Valley that inning.
Mahala struck out the side in the fourth. The Warriors got their lone score in the fifth after B.J. Barbosa singled, advanced on a passed ball, and crossed on a pair of wild pitches.
Henson tagged a run-scoring double in the sixth. Reece lined a run-scoring single, and Mahala completed the onslaught with a run-scoring double.
Happy Valley’s Matt Reynolds singled in the seventh. Mahala also fanned the side that inning to end the affair.
Hammons batted 3 for 4. Dusty Stout was 2 for 3.
Henson went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Reece and Mahala were each 2 for 4 with two RBIs, while Andy Stout also hit 2 for 4.
Mahala hurled four wild pitches, all in the fifth. The Longhorns avenged a previous loss at Happy Valley.
“We had to scratch and scrape, and try to eke out wins,” Pavusek said. “Hopefully this will get us going.”
The Warriors’ Correy Garland was on the mound the first three innings. He was roughed up for 10 hits, six earned runs and struck out three.
Sam Allie pitched the final three innings. He was touched for four hits, yielded no earned runs and fanned one.
“Pitchers leaving balls up in the strike zone,” Moore said. “The umpire was calling it extremely low today, and we refused to make the adjustment. Their guys did a great job of hitting pitches when they saw them.”
Happy Valley 000 010 0 — 1 3 4
Johnson Co. 412 003 x — 10 14 1
C. Garland and Street. Mahala and Smith. W—Mahala (3-0). L—Garland (0-2). HRs—Johnson County: Hammons (1), Reece (1).