By Nick Nunn staff writer
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) varsity Diamond Dogs pushed their 2014 record to 4-2 last week after earning a 8-5 win over Clarke Central and splitting a double-header against Lamar County at the Morgan County Diamond Day last Saturday, March 1. The Clarke Central Gladiators began their second matchup against the Dogs by earning two runs in the bottom of the first inning, going ahead 2-0.
In the top of the second, Maclane Zant was able to shorten the gap for Morgan County by driving in Brantley Frost, who had reached on a triple earlier in the inning.
The Gladiators weren’t able to score in the bottom of the second, allowing the Dogs to tie the game in the top of the third inning with a single run off the bat of Max Wadsworth.
Clarke Central fought hard to earn the lead back in the bottom of the third, making the score 3-2 in their favor, but Morgan County blew took the game out of the Gladiators’ hands in the top of the fourth by scoring three additional runs. Ross Kirkpatrick and Drew Hale earned RBIs in the fourth and Kirkpatrick scored on an error to give Morgan County their first lead of the game 5-3.
In the fifth, Kirkpatrick earned his second RBI of the game, extending the Dogs’ lead to 6-3, which, ultimately, would prove to put Morgan County out of reach for Clarke Central.
The Dogs’ final runs came in the sixth with RBIs by Luke Zimmerman and Clark Owen, and after a run by the Gladiators in the sixth, the final score settled in favor of the Dogs at 8-5. Ryan Burden and Owen split the first six innings for the Dogs on the mound, before Brantley Frost came in during the seventh for the save.
During the first game of the Morgan County Diamond Day double-header against Lamar County on Saturday, the Dogs took control of Lamar County early and never let up.
Lamar County pushed in a single run in the first inning, but the Dogs matched them when Cody Harper scored on a balk to make the game 1-1. Morgan County kept the pressure on Lamar County, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning and then an additional three runs in the third to make the Dogs’ lead 6-1.
Lamar County’s second and final run of the game came in the top of the fourth, and Morgan County’s last run came with Wadsworth scoring on a balk in the sixth. Wadsworth pitched the first five innings for Morgan County, allowing two runs on five hits, while walking no batters and striking out five.
“Max Wadsworth did a nice job for us in his second career varsity start on the mound,” said MCHS Baseball Coach Brandon Patch. “He showed maturity and really took control of the game.”
Ryan Burden pitched the final two innings, facing eight batters and allowing only one hit. In the second game against Lamar County, Morgan County fell behind 1-6 in the second inning despite an RBI by Wadsworth during the Dogs’ first turn at the plate.
Lamar increased their lead to 8-1 in the third inning, and the Dogs weren’t able to gain traction until the fifth, when Morgan County batted around the order, scoring six runs in the inning.
Cody Harper led off the frame with a single and then was driven home with a two-run home run by Sam Couch.
Jon Milledge Wells, Ross Kirkpatrick, Drew Hale and Cody Harper each earned an RBI during the inning as well, to have the Dogs trail by only one run, 7-8, after the fifth inning. The Dogs held Lamar County from advancing in the final innings but were also unable to tie the game, losing to Lamar County with a final score of 7-8. “We basically got ourselves into a bit of a hole in the early going,”
said Coach Patch. “However, rather than hanging our heads, we continued to battle and narrowed their lead to 1 and had a chance to win late.” “Sam Couch had a nice home run late in the game that gave us a lift. Furthermore, we had several hard-hit balls in the game that seemed to be right at Lamar’s defense. It was a good battle.”
The Dogs played Rockdale at home on Monday and then Eastside in Covington on Wednesday at 5:55 p.m. Next Monday, the Dogs will take on Eastside again, this time at home, also at 5:55 p.m.