Leila Dycus Staff Writer
Before the first pitch is thrown out Morgan County High School Softball Coach Doug Connelly explains the team’s goals for the season. Their first game was on August 12, against Hart County. “Our goals and expectations for the season are going to be lofty,” said Coach Connelly. “The girls know they have the potential to compete for the region title and reach Columbus for the final eight.” This season the softball team has many returning girls, who know how to work together. They’ve worked hard over the past few month- conditioning, playing in summer leagues and tournaments.
They returned to school and practiced last week knowing that the season was right around the corner. “One of the things we are going to talk about throughout the season is playing ourselves,” said Connelly. “What I mean by that is that in the game of softball there are things that you must do as a team each game, no matter the opponent, to be successful.” The team will be grading themselves by how they play each game, which might not be as evident in the wins and loses.
The coaches have established a certain criteria that they will use to grade themselves as a team. An example of these criteria is a number of errors they make or the number of strikeouts they have at the plate. On defense, when the girls are on the field, they want to make no more than two errors- dropping the ball, throwing it to the wrong base, missing an easy out.
At the plate the team wants no more than four strikeouts per game.The list goes on and on, but Coach Connelly said that the tough thing here is that if they take care of themselves the wins should follow suit. “Fundamentals are the basis of any sport and lead to repetitive actions, which are critical in the game of softball,” said Connelly. Fundamentals are the way that the team will prepare to reach the goal of playing themselves. Beyond fundamentals the team will be aggressive on the bases with their leads and always look to take the next base.
The Bulldogs have been working on this mindset in practices and now it will be able to transition to games. The idea is that with strong fundamentals and aggressive base running the Dogs will be able to put as much pressure as possible on the other team.
This year’s team is going to be fun to watch- packed with offensive speed and power in the middle of the line up they’re sure to be a force to be reckoned with. If you mix in the aggressiveness and depth that this new team brings it’s a winning combination. The girls are excited to take on Hart this week and get the season rolling.
Through summer practices the girls have demonstrated their positivity and love of the game and playing together. The Varsity schedule began on the road this week, with a game against Hart County in Hartwell. The team will then take on Madison County and Oglethorpe County in a double header Thursday, August 14 at 6:15 and 8:00 p.m.
On Friday and Saturday the team is back in Danielsville for The Madison County LOC. “Softball is a fast game and that’s the way we’re going to play it,” said Connelly.