By Nick Nunn staff writer
The Morgan County High School Diamond Dog varsity and junior varsity completed their summer instructional league schedule last weekend, competing in a tournament in Augusta on Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21. The varsity Dogs went 1-2-1 for the tournament, beating Grovetown and tying Lakeside High School, but losing to Greenbriar and Fox Creek. The JV squad lost all four of its games at the league tournament. The varsity Dogs lost their first game of the tournament on Friday to AAAA Greenbriar 3-4 before beating Grovetown, another AAAA opponent, 3-0.
The second day also saw tough competition, as Morgan County tied AAAA Lakeside High School 2-2 and lost to Fox Creek by a single run 7-8. “After seeing our guys play this weekend, I was very pleased with our level of play defensively and on the mound,” said Varsity Coach Rob Brown. “Several guys impressed me with their ability to step in and play new positions. Cody Harper and TJ Howell did an outstanding job of controlling the pitching staff and were solid behind the plate. Dalton Cole and Gage Brown proved that they are ready to be on the Varsity’s infield. “Ben Meier has always been an outstanding first basemen but he definitely had the best four games of his career. Ross Kirkpatrick’s knowledge of the game is going to a valuable asset next year as the leader on the infield, and our outfield continues to prove that they are the best mechanically sound group top to bottom in the state.” “Our Seniors proved that they are ready to carry this team.” The JV team lost their four games of the tournament, but JV Coach Jerry McCullough stated that the team was able to maintain a constructive attitude throughout the games.
“We lost two games Friday by a wide margin to teams from the top baseball programs in the state,” said McCullough. “The players’ attitudes were great, and they looked forward to playing again the next day. I was very proud of them. They were able to practice what they had learned about playing defense during the summer program.” On the second day, the JV teams worked hard to limit the other teams’ scores. “We played teams completing their third tournament of the season,” said McCullough. “Our guys played better defensively and hit the ball more consistently than on Friday. We got a very good pitching performance in the second game, too. It was great for them to end the summer program on a positive note,.”
“The summer instructional league was very successful,” said Coach McCullough about the summer program as a whole. “The guys learned more about playing baseball, new ways to do routine things, and how to improve doing the routine things. “They are really good kids and had fun playing baseball,” continued McCullough. “A really good environment was created for them to understand the concept of playing as a team. The players took charge during the tournament for rotating through their primary, secondary, and even new positions themselves. It was incredible to watch them make sure each player got enough playing time without my input. And the parents supported those boys as well as any group I have seen.”