By Nick Nunn staff writer
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) varsity Diamond Dogs extended their 2014 record to 6-3 last week, winning games against Rockdale and Eastside 4-2 and 4-3, respectively, while also dropping a game against Eastside 0-16. Morgan County got out ahead of Rockdale during the bottom of the first inning with two runs last Monday, March 3.
Cody Harper and Ross Kirkpatrick, the Dogs’ first two batters, were both hit by pitches to reach base. Harper scored on a sacrifice fly by Brantley Frost two at bats later, then Kirkpatrick scored on an error by Rockdale County’s first baseman.
In the bottom of the second inning, Kirkpatrick came up to bat for the second time of the game with the bases loaded. Again, Kirkpatrick was hit by a pitch – Rockdale’s starting pitcher would hit four batters before being retired – which brought in the Dogs’ third unanswered run. Drew Hale scored the Dogs’ fourth and final run of the game in the bottom of the fourth without the benefit of a hit. After reaching on a base on balls, Hale was moved to second by Harper being hit by a pitch before scoring on an error. Rockdale County scored two runs late in the game but were unable to catch up to the Dogs, who won with a 4-2 lead. Clark Owen pitched all seven innings for the Dogs, striking out 10 of the 27 batters he faced, allowing only five hits and no runs. “Great win against Rockdale,” said MCHS Baseball Coach Brandon Patch. “Owen was really dealing in this one.”
The Dogs’ next game, against Eastside High School, was a one-sided affair. Before the Dogs were able to get out of the gate, Eastside scored 10 runs in the bottom of the second inning and ended the game in the third with six additional runs, winning 16-0.
“Eastside game one was a tough one, but I was really impressed by the way we responded by preparing with great focus at practice,” said Coach Patch.” The focus at practice paid off in the second game against Eastside, which took place on Monday, March 10. Morgan County, realizing the need for early offensive output against Eastside, scored the four runs they would need to win the game during the first inning of the game.
Immediately after Brantley Frost hit a two-RBI double into the right field with two outs in the bottom of the first, Drew Hale cleared the bases with a two-run homer beyond the right side fence. The Dogs’ defense prevented Eastside from scoring until the sixth inning, when they earned their first run. With the score 4-1 going to the top of the seventh, Morgan County only had to hold on for the next three outs.
Eastside battled back to tie the score but could only manage two runs, giving the Dogs a 4-3 win. “We really balled and earned a win the second time around,” said Coach Patch. “It showed how resilient this group is. Game two was a team effort.” Wednesday, the varsity Dogs played against Oglethorpe County on the road. They won’t play again until next Wednesday, when they will face Aquinas for the first time this season, at home beginning at 5:55 p.m.