By Nick Nunn, staff writer
The Morgan County High School varsity softball team played the Buford High School Wolves last Wednesday, Oct. 23 in the second round of the AAA state playoffs. Morgan County lost twice in the doubleheader, 0-11 and 7-15. The season-ending losses leave the Lady Dogs with a 10-4 record in the region and a 25-11 record overall.
The Buford Wolves, who have won consecutive state championships in their region since 2007, shut out Morgan County in the first game of the doubleheader 0-11.
A three-run homer by the Wolves in the first inning gave Buford an early lead, and, in the third inning, the Wolves added another seven points to the board to put them out of reach at 0-10.
After a final run by Buford in the fourth inning, the game ended due to the run rule.
Despite the loss in the first game of the doubleheader, the Lady Dogs showed an outstanding amount of effort in the second game.
Buford took the lead in the top of the first inning with a single run, but Morgan County showed that they were not prepared to lie down for the Wolves.
After reaching base on a walk, Alishia Frierson was able to move on to second before being driven in by Aubree Cox for the Lady Dogs’ first run.
The second inning passed without either team scoring, but Buford added four runs in the third inning with another three-run homer and an RBI sacrifice fly. Buford started to pound the ball again in the fourth inning. After a two-RBI double and a two-run home run, the Wolves still had an RBI triple and an RBI single in them.
At the end of the top of the fourth inning, the score was 11-1 in Buford’s favor, and Morgan County faced having a second game end on a run rule if no points were scored in the bottom of the fourth.
The bat of Sarah Couch gave Morgan County the run that they needed to keep fighting, but, again, Buford scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning to threaten the Lady Dogs.
The bottom of the fifth was the Dogs’ most productive inning against Buford. Laney Crawford, Elizabeth Couch, and Cox earned RBIs for a total of four runs in the inning to make the score 6-13.
Buford struck a two-run homer in the top of the sixth to give the Wolves a nine-run lead, but the Dogs were only able to score one run in the bottom of the sixth, an RBI single by Cox, which ended the game with a final score of 15-7 in the Wolves’ favor.
“I think our girls fought hard during both games and never gave up,” said Lady Dogs Head Coach Doug Connelly about the Buford games.
“After getting drilled pretty good in game one, our girls came right back and competed well in game two. Even when it looked like they were going to run rule us, our girls kept their focus at the plate and put up some runs to stay in the game. We battled until the very end.”
The 25-11 record is the most successful MCHS softball season since 2006 in terms of wins, and the Lady Dogs put up an average of 6.8 runs per game during the season.
“This year’s team has helped to reestablish Morgan County as one of the top teams in our area and a legitimate contender to make it to Columbus,” said Coach Connelly.
“We only lose one senior this year, so we have a lot of kids returning and some young talent that played on this year’s JV team. We should be set to make another run next season.”
“I just want to publicly thank the girls for all of the hard work they have put into the sport. They are a fun group to be around on and off the field.”