Austin American-Statesman On-Line

Johnson City victory sends them to state in Class A
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Danny Davis, Austin American-Statesman Staff

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SAN ANTONIO -- It's said revenge is a dish best served cold, but what Cody Smith and his Johnson City teammates secured Saturday in 95- degree heat was pretty satisfying, too.

Smith threw six solid innings, and Laramie Blackwell retired the three hitters he faced in the seventh inning as Johnson City beat Shiner 4-1.

The victory in the final game of the best-of-three regional championship series sent Johnson City on to the Class A state baseball tournament and also helped the Eagles avenge a 55-13 loss to Shiner in the second round of the Class A, Division I football playoffs. Five of the starters in Johnson City's lineup Saturday also played on football in the fall.

"It definitely makes it a little bit sweeter, and it's good payback," said Smith, who quarterbacked the Eagles.

"It's good to get them back," added senior centerfielder Kris McDonald, a wide receiver in the fall.

After losing 11-4 on Friday, the Eagles turned to Smith in an effort to clinch their first state tournament berth since 1980. The right-handed Smith went into Game 3 with a 7-1 record, his only loss being a 14-4 slip-up against Benavides in the area playoffs.

Smith struck out Shiner's first two batters of the game, and in the bottom of the first inning, Johnson City took the lead on Dylan Carter's sacrifice fly .

"That really set us off," said Smith, who struck out four and allowed five hits over six innings. "That was the spark we needed."

Johnson City added two runs in the third inning, and Jaxon Riebesehl's RBI flyout in the fourth inning extended the Eagles' lead to four runs.

In the top of the seventh inning, though, Shiner's first three batters reached base.

Wesley Patek's RBI single ended Smith's day on the mound, and Laramie, who allowed only one hit in Johnson City's 9-3 victory over Shiner on Thursday, came on in relief. With two runners on base and no outs, Laramie struck out two consecutive batters and recorded a groundout to shortstop Luke Neely to end the game.

"I just had to shut them down and hopefully get some ground ball outs because our defense had been strong the whole game," Laramie said. "It worked out fine."

Johnson City (31-6) will open play in the Class A state tournament on Wednesday at Dell Diamond. The tournament pairings will be released today.; 361-445-3952

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