Varsity Lady Dogs take championship in Cherokee Leadoff Classic

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By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

The Morgan County High School (MCHS) varsity Lady Dogs swept their way through the Cherokee Leadoff Classic at Etowah High School in Woodstock last weekend, beating Dodge County 15-12 and Paulding County 6-4 before taking the last game 5-2 against Etowah.

During the first game of the classic, the Lady Dogs played Dodge County, who has become somewhat of a rival for the younger members of the Morgan County team, who saw Dodge County during the recent Georgia Recreation and Park Association 13-14 softball state tournament.

Alishia Frierson earned the first run against Dodge County, coming home on a passed ball in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game 1-1. In the bottom of the third inning, however, the Dogs scored eight runs, taking an imposing 9-1 lead over Dodge.

Frierson drove the first runs of the inning in with a three-run homer. Laree Van Orden then almost matched her feat with a two-run homer of her own.

Alishia Ellis drove in a single run with an RBI double, and then Ellis then scored on a passed ball before Carly Hannah drove Sarah Couch in with an RBI single.

Dodge County, not to be outdone, scored nine runs of their own in the top of the fourth to take the lead 10-9, but Morgan County quickly regained control in the bottom of the inning with four more runs.

After an RBI single by Aubree Cox and a 2-RBI single by Ellis, Ellis earned another run for the team to make the score 13-10.

Each team earned a run in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Dodge wasn’t able to catch up with the Dogs, who won the first game 15-12.

“We just jumped all over them,” said Coach Doug Connelly about Morgan County’s offensive output.

The second game of the classic, against Paulding County, was much more subdued.

Paulding held the lead for most of the game, earning two unanswered runs in both the first and fourth innings for a 4-0 lead.

However, in the fifth inning, Morgan County was able to earn five runs and take the lead.

Laney Crawford and Cox both hit 2-RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth, and Elizabeth Couch’s RBI single brought Morgan County the 5-4 lead with two outs already on the board.

Sarah Couch reached home in the bottom of the sixth inning to add an insurance run for Morgan County to make the score 6-4, and Paulding went down on three batters in the seventh inning giving Morgan County the win.

Against Etowah during the final game of the classic, Morgan County took a first-inning lead when Crawford hit an RBI double to bring Frierson in.

Morgan County scored their second run of the game in the third inning with an RBI single by Cox.

Etowah tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the third inning, but the Dogs moved ahead again in the fourth with an RBI single by Frierson.

Frierson earned another RBI in the sixth with a double, and Ellis drove the final run of the game in during the seventh inning to make the final score 5-2.

Coach Connelly attributed the success during the classic to the fact that the Dogs “started playing together as a team.”

Last Tuesday, the varsity Dogs played Jackson for their region opener, but lost to Jackson, last year’s 8-AAA region champs, 2-3.

Cox was able to score after reaching on an error in the fourth inning and Laree Van Orden scored in the sixth inning after reaching on a triple.

Jackson County’s three runs were all unearned against Frierson, who only gave up five hits during the entire game.

Tuesday, the varsity and JV Lady Dogs played Oconee County away while the MCMS softball team played Youth Middle School, and on Wednesday, the varsity played Evans Co. on the road and JV played Alcovy at home.

Today the varsity Dogs play Franklin County at home, and both teams will play Elbert County on Friday for a make-up game.

Up This Week: The Lady Dogs take on Franklin County on Thursday, then Elbert County (make-up game) on Friday.

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