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Johnson City baseball to face Kenedy in regional semifinals

The Johnson City High School baseball team is set to take on Kenedy in a Class 2A Region IV semifinal series at the University of Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway in San Antonio.

Game one is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, and game two is at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 27. Game three, if necessary, will happen 30 minutes after the second game ends.

Kenedy (24-7, District 31-2A champion) defeated Flatonia 2-1 in its regional quarterfinals series.

“They’ve won a lot of games,” Johnson City head coach Steven Shipley said. “This year they’re a younger team. They’re excited to be there. They played a great series against Flatonia. They upset Flatonia. Shiner (in District 29-2A), who went to state last year. finished second to Flatonia. (Kenedy) must be pretty good.”

The Lions have a trio of starting pitchers: L.J. Barrientez, Daniel Pena and Rylan Reyna.

“They have three different guys who seem to pitch quite a bit,” Shipley said. “They’re older kids. They don’t make many mistakes defensively.”

Barrientez had three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings during the 4-2 win against Flatonia in the first game. Pena had three strikeouts during the 5-0 game two loss. Reyna had three strikeouts in seven innings during the 7-5 win in game three.

Offensively, Ayden Castillo, Owen Garcia, Karsen Reyes, Barrientez, Pena and Reyna have been consistently producing hits, runs and RBIs.

“They put the ball in play,” Shipley said. “They have guys who don’t strike out much. They force you to make plays.”

Making plays will be a big key in the series outcome, he added.

“The winning team won’t make errors,” he said. “(Johnson City pitchers) McCray (Jacobs) and Johnny (Slawinski) will do what they normally do. It’s going to come down to having multiple hits in a row. I tell our kids it takes three singles to score runs. Don’t make mistakes that turn a walk into a double.”

Another priority continues to be limiting walks and hits by pitches that allow batters to take a base.

“That’s a big emphasis for us,” Shipley said. “You’re going to give up a base hit. But if you give up a walk, we can’t defend that. We can defend a hit; we can’t defend a walk. We don’t walk many people. Let them hit it before you walk them.”

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