By Nick Nunn staff writer
The Morgan County High School (MHCS) JV Diamond Dogs put two more notches in their unbroken win column this past week with a 7-3 victory over Salem and a 11-4 win over Stephens County. The Dogs took on Salem last Tuesday, April 1, and were trailing 1-2 after the first three innings, placing Morgan County in a position that it hadn’t had to take very often this season.
In the top of the fourth inning, however, Austin Hale hit a three-run homer to give the Dogs a 4-2 lead and the momentum that they would need to carry them through the rest of the game.
Salem was able to add another run in the fifth inning to decrease Morgan County’s lead to only 4-3, but the Dogs added another two runs in the sixth inning with some well-placed bunts and sacrifices.
Justin Miner added an RBI in the seventh inning for an extra insurance run, and the Dogs would then go on to win the game 7-3.
Ryan McMichael struck out five Salem hitters and gave up only three walks and a single earned run during the first four innings on the mound.
In the fifth inning, freshman Sean McElligott took to the mound for his first pitching appearance of the year, giving up only one run during the course of two innings.
“Sean did a great job, especially considering this was his first time on the hill this season,” said MCHS JV Head Coach Doug Connelly. “It wasn’t like this was mop-up duty; the game was on the line. He really showed a lot of poise and kept throwing strikes even though we weren’t playing the best defense around him.”
Justin Miner closed out the game on the mound for the Dogs.
“This was not our best performance,” said Connelly. “In fact, we were lucky to get out with the win. It’s funny to say this, but the bunt execution really turned the game around. That’s something we work in a lot in practice but only use here and there in games. It just goes to show that the little things often make the difference in close games.”
The Dogs didn’t stay down long, however, traveling to Stephens County on Thursday, April 3, where they beat the Indians 11-4. “After arguably our worst performance of the season at Salem on Tuesday, we got back to playing the type of baseball we expect to play at Stephens County,” said Coach Connelly. “For the most part, we took care of the baseball and limited the free passes, which have been keys to our success throughout the season.
“On the offensive side, we hit the ball as well as we have in a couple of weeks.”
Justin Miner pitched a complete game for Morgan County, giving up only six hits and two earned runs.
Luke Zimmerman was 2-3 at the plate with a double against Stephens County, while Miner went 2-4, earning four RBIs. Gage Brown scored three runs during the game, going 3-5 at the plate.
Tuesday, April 8, the JV team played against North Oconee for their penultimate game of the year. Today, April 10, the JV Dogs finish out their regular season with a home game against Eastside at 5:55 p.m.