By Greg Sullivan
The Diamond Dogs fell 12-8 to Washington-Wilkes last Wednesday despite a homer and five RBI from Parker Cline and additional homers from Josh Blackburn and Tyler Ward.
It was defense that did the Dogs in, as they gave up six errors and seven unearned runs in the loss.
The Tigers jumped ahead early in the game, scoring six runs in the second inning largely off of three Bulldog errors for the inning.
Diamond Dogs Head Coach Brandon Patch said he wants to see his team reduce their defensive miscues as the season goes along.
"I would like to see the guys continue to be consistent at the plate," Patch said. "Then I would like to see improvement on defense with fewer errors and prolonged innings."
Offensively, the Dogs have fared well all season, averaging nearly nine runs per game, but unlike two days before when they were able to hold Greene County to just two runs to pick up a an easy 14-2 win, the defense wasn't able to hold back Washington-Wilkes' scoring.
Kyle Burden got the start for the Dogs. Later coming in for relief duty were Parker Cline and Olin Watkins. The collective pitching effort, allowing a combined total of five earned runs would have likely been enough to keep the Tigers’ hiiters at bay if there had been enough defensive support.
The bright sports in the effort for the Dogs all came at the plate.
Ward went 2 for 4 with a homer, three runs scored and an RBI. Cline went 2 for 4 with a homer and five RBI. Blackburn went 1 for 4 with a solo homer. Clay Duvall went 3 for 4 and scored a run.
The team's home game on Friday with North Oconee was postponed due to rain and will be made up on April 4.
By Greg Sullivan
The Pups proved last Wednesday they could respond with their backs to the wall; they just couldn't do it twice in the same game.
Down 2-1 to GMC going into the bottom of the sixth inning in Madison, the Pups answered the call with a Fred Williams double. Williams stole third and was driven in by a clutch ground ball from Stewart Spence, for Williams' second run scored of the game.
Tying the score at 2-2 with the run, the Pups forced extra innings. But that's where the home team ran out of steam, giving up four runs in the top of the seventh to go down 6-2 and this time the Pups didn't have an answer, falling to 2-2 on the season after the 6-2 defeat.
"This was a very sloppy game on our part, right from the outset," said Pups Head Coach Mike McSherry. "We must tip our caps to GMC, though, as they battled all the way to the end and played as a team while we played like nine individuals."
McSherry, however, said he still has high expectations for his team and is expecting them to work hard to get things going right again and hopefully play well this week despite time off due to intercession.
"We have a very good team, with loads of talent. Once these young men recognize this and choose to play as a team we will be very difficult to beat," he said. "We're going to shake things up a bit at Greene County and give some other players an opportunity. I fully expect the effort and hustle to be ratcheted up a few notches."
Alex Harris pitched the first four innings for the Pups in the game, giving up a run in each of the first two innings but kept things relatively close for the Pups' offense.
By Greg Sullivan
Long Shadow Golf Club at Madison Lakes received its first big honor this month, being ranked in the current issue of Golfweek as the fourth best golf course in Georgia in the publication's annual Best Courses You Can Play ranking.
The course came in just ahead of three Reynolds Plantation courses, Great Waters, Oconee and National, which finished fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
"I think it's a really positive thing for the club to get mentioned like that," said Long Shadow Director of Golf Ed Hoard. "Hopefully, we'll continue to receive accolades."
The two other major golf publications, Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, are expected to evaluate the course and their competitors sometime this year.
The Long Shadow course, which just opened its back nine holes in June of 2007, has only recently become eligible for such rankings.
Courses placing ahead of Long Shadow in this year's Golfweek ranking were Golf Club at Cuscowilla in Eatonton, Sea Island Golf Club (Seaside) in St. Simons Island and Club at Savannah Harbor.
Golfweek’ Best Courses You Can Play 2008 rankings for Georgia include the following 10 courses:
1. Golf Club at Cuscowilla, Eatonton (No. 39 m)
2. Sea Island GC (Seaside), St. Simons Island (No. 82 m)
3. Club at Savannah Harbor, Savannah (m)*
4. Long Shadow, Madison (m)*
5. Reynolds Plantation (Great Waters), Greensboro (m)
6. Reynolds Plantation (Oconee), Greensboro (m)
7. Reynolds Plantation (National), Greensboro (m)
8. Barnsley Gardens Resort (The General), Adairsville (m)
9. Legends Club at Chateau Elan, Braselton (m)
10. Sea Island GC (Plantation), St. Simons Island (c)
Rankings courtesy of www.golfweeksbest.com.
By Greg Sullivan
JV Diamond Dogs got off to a good start last week, rallying to beat Eastside 7-6 last Tuesday at home before falling Thursday at North Oconee to split their week's games.
J.R. Messer picked up a complete game win over Eastside for the JV Dogs last Tuesday. Messer also helped himself out at the plate by getting the game-winning RBI for the Dogs in the seventh inning.
The Dogs entered the final inning down 6-4, but quickly got the momentum going in their favor. Drew Stapleton led off the inning with a solo home run to spark the Dogs' rally.
JV Dogs Head Coach Josh Reeves said he was happy to see his team getting some runs on the board late.
"We'd been making contact," Reeves said. "We started putting hits together in that inning."
"It was a good effort," Reeves said. "J.R. pitched a good game."
At North Oconee, Reeves said the difference was just the JV Titans' good hitting as the JV Dogs fell 9-5.
"We played errorless baseball, but North Oconee just out-hit us," Reeves said.
The Dogs were down 6-1 and rallied to pull within one run at 6-5 with a four-run fifth inning, but after some late North Oconee runs the Dogs couldn't get back in the game.
"It was a good team effort," Reeves said. "We just didn't have anything left after that first rally."
The team hosted Rockdale on Tuesday and they host Apalachee on Friday.
By Greg Sullivan
The Morgan County Touchdown Club is already planning ahead for the coming football season, and they'll get started with a fundraising effort Thursday, March 27.
That Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 10 percent of all proceeds at the Madison Chick-Fil-A will go to the Touchdown Club, said club vice-president Ray Stapleton.
Stapleton said the club appreciates the restaurant’s owner Burns Warfield for allowing the fundraiser to happen.
"We're just trying to spruce up and get everybody's attention as we move up to Class AAA," Stapleton said.
He said much of the money raised is expected to go toward new helmets that the team recently purchased. Other items on the team's list, Stapleton said, include items for the weight room and their practice facilities.
The event is open to the public and Stapleton said everyone is welcome to come. For those interested, the organization will be signing up new club members for the coming season.
"[Coach Malone] tells us what we need," Stapleton said. "And we try and say, 'Yes,' It's about raising money."
By Greg Sullivan
To see a Morgan County alum in action this weekend all one has to do is drive up to Athens as Kent State softball pitcher Kylie Reynolds will take on Albany State and University of Georgia in the Georgia Softball Spring Fling, in a rare trip to play at near home.
Before heading off to the Ohio school Reynolds was a star on the Lady Dogs softball team, leading them to two state championships in three years, including one in 2006.
"She basically pitched us to the state championship," said former Lady Dogs Head Coach Steve Cisson. "She didn't give up a run."
Reynolds, who had an unheard of 0.00 ERA in 170 innings as a senior, was named Class AA player of the year in 2006 and was also named Gatorade Softball Player of the Year for being the best player in all classifications across the state.
Last year, as a freshman at Kent State, Reynolds was named the MAC Pitcher of the Year. She was an All-MAC first team selection and also MAC Freshman of the Year, picking up 14 wins, 254 strike outs and a 1.30 ERA.
Kent State was 12-6 on the year coming into this week having won eight straight games.
The Golden Flashes play Albany in Athens Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at noon. They play them again Sunday at noon.
The school takes on UGA on Saturday at 4 p.m. and and again on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Reynolds is expected to see some time on the mound at this weekend's tournament.