By Nick Nunn
On July 22 and 23, the Morgan County High School Lady Diamond Dogs participated in the Dan Davis Invitational, which was held at the University of North Georgia and Lumpkin County High School in Dahlonega. During the two-day event, the Lady Dogs defeated Parkview, Eastside, Fannin County, and Lumpkin County, while losing only to Walnut Grove.
Lady Dog Head Coach Doug Connelly described what role the invitational was able to play in the team’s preseason preparations.
“One of my primary objectives for the tournament was to move players around and let each individual play a variety of positions,” said Coach Connelly. “This year’s team is full of versatile players who can play multiple positions, so we have to figure out how to best utilize our talent.”
“With official practices beginning August 1 and the first game on August ninth, high school softball teams are left with little time for preseason preparation,” continued Connelly. “These five games gave me a much clearer perspective on where some of the players might play; and more importantly, what areas we need to focus on during our brief preseason practice period.”
During the first day of the invitational, July 22, the Dogs beat the Parkview Panthers 7-4 at the University of North Georgia, but, for the second game of the day, they lost to Walnut Grove 2-5 in a game shortened to three-and-a-half innings due to weather.
On the second day, Tuesday, July 23, Morgan County came out strong with victories against Eastside 2-1, Fannin County 8-2, and Lumpkin County 4-2.
“Overall, I was very pleased with the team’s play,” said Connelly. “The girls played great defense in the three Tuesday games after a shaky start on Monday.”
Connelly described the pitching performances during the invitational as “solid,” and made sure to praise the outings by Alishia Frierson, Miranda Sneed, and Hayden Massey, who missed most of the 2012 season due to a knee injury.
Although Connelly stated that the Dogs did not play up to their full capabilities at the plate, he said that he “was not dissatisfied with [their] performance at the plate and on the bases.”
Some of the younger members of the Lady Dogs competed in the Paw Print Invitational at the Mary Persons High School on July 17, where they beat Houston County 7-6 after trailing 0-6 heading into the bottom half of the final inning.
Morgan County then beat Jackson High School 8-0, but lost the final game of the day against Mary Persons 4-6.
The same group of the Lady Dog athletes split a doubleheader against Heritage on July 18 in Morgan County. Although Heritage won the first game of the doubleheader 6-4, the Lady Dogs came back in the second game to win 7-5.
“The Freshmen and Sophomores who played in the games at Mary Persons and against Heritage proved that we have solid depth in the softball program,” said Coach Connelly. “Most of the girls were playing in their first high school games, and they really caught on to some things that were thrown at them for the first time.”
The first game of the Lady Dogs’ season will be against Walnut Grove on the road on Friday, Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Dogs will host their first game the next day, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. against Mary Persons.
MCHS at Walnut Grove / Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.
MCHS vs. Mary Persons / Aug. 10, 10 a.m.