Johnson senior pitcher Will Rowlett is a mystery to hitters.
It’s a tricky blend of fast ball, change-ups and even a curveball that all worked together for the Knights’ left-handed ace as he struck out eight batters in a complete game performance and helped the Knights to a 10-1 win against Chestatee on Monday night at War Eagle Park.
"I like to keep the hitters off balance," Rowlett said. "I’ve been working all week on throwing a lot of strikes with different pitches."
The strategy worked as the War Eagles (2-11, 1-10 Region 7-AAA) only managed to get runners in scoring position three times all night.
"He pitched a great game for us," Johnson coach Tony Wilson said. "He was very sharp with his change-up and that really helped us."
With the win, Johnson (6-9, 3-8 Region 7-AAA), winners of three of its last five, passed Pickens in Region 7-AAA standings and moves into a tie with East Hall.
The Knights didn’t need much time to take an early lead with three runs in the second inning off consecutive doubles by Rowlett, Logan Pethel and Paul Neese.
Johnson extended its lead sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring five runs in the fifth inning with hits from Rowlett, Pethel, Neese, Michael Lorentz, David Jones and Bobby Wirsing. Jared Stone singled twice to book end its big inning.
"We had some big two-out hits," Wilson said. "We did a good job taking advantage of Chestatee’s error and taking the ball the other way,"
Chestatee’s Kurt Stevenson pitched out of a bases loaded situation in the sixth inning after the Knights put three on base with two outs. Nick Denard, Pethel and Stone all reached base for the Knights in the sixth as one of two situations with the bases loaded on the night.
The stranded runners didn’t hinder Johnson for long. In the seventh, Jones doubled to score Lorentz for the game’s final run.
Neese was 3-for-4 with a double, three runs and three RBIs for the Knights. Lorentz was 2-for-5 with a run and three RBIs. Pethel was 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Rowlett was 4-for-5 with a double, a run and an RBI and Jones was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and an RBI.
"Everyone in the lineup hit well," Wilson said. "After the first inning we made some adjustments and began to put the ball into play."
Matt Odle tripled for Chestatee in the fourth and later scored on a pass ball for its only run of the game. He finished the night 2-for-3.
"Matt has been our high point all year," Chestatee coach Wes Gentry said. "He’s really come on strong the past few games."
Odle, who is recovering from an arm injury from football season, is probable for his first start on the mound this season when Chestatee plays host to Flowery Branch at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Johnson visits Region 7-AAA front-runner Gainesville at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday night at Ivey-Watson. The Knights are trying to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.