By R. Alan Richardson
In a twilight double header this past week the Diamond Dogs came away with two wins against Monroe Area in Region 8-AAA play. The weather gods gave the fans some wonderful baseball temperatures for both games that ended in the sixth inning in both contests. The opener saw Morgan take a 13-3 win followed by 10-0 shutout in the nightcap.
Hunter Lane got the start in the first game and went six full innings giving up eight hits, striking out four, and walking zero. The defense had a couple of unusual lapses in this one with three errors, but Lane and the Dogs played through them with some great plays as well including a double play in the first and a saving catch by Jaron Ferguson up against the centerfield fence in the fifth.
The Dogs sent 12 batters to the plate in the first inning to take the 6-0 lead, added another run in the second, scored five more in the fifth when they batted around, and got the 10-run rule final run in the sixth.
Ferguson started the first off with a triple. Singles by Lane, Ethan Stamps, Jacob Anderson, Hunter Christian, and a double by Trey Patterson accounted for the rest of the damage. In the second frame Grant Cofer doubled and scored on a loud single by Christian. The big fella rumbled around third and showed off his best head first slide to take the run to the house. One of the players commented, “I felt the ground shake,” behind a dugout of laughs.
Morgan threatened in both the third and fourth, but got the bats going again in the fifth. Cole drew a walk before Ferguson beat out an infield hit. Two errors later, it was Cofer again who singled in two more runs and then scored later on a Christian single. Morgan needed one more in the sixth to finish off the Canes. It was Stamps’ walk-off single that drove in pinch runner AJ Stinnett for the 13-3 victory.
The second outing of the night saw off-speed pitcher Dalton Cole take the mound. He kept Monroe off balance the entire evening with his curve, slider, and change-up striking out four, walking one, and allowing four hits. The defense showed up for this one with only one error for the night and another double play turned by Christian, Stamps, and Cofer. Young threw out another runner while Stamps made a leaping catch at second on a rip that had double written all over it.
Ferguson scored in the first after he reached base on an error, went to third on a single by Lane, and subsequently scored on a sacrifice fly from Grant Cofer. The Dogs didn’t score again until the fifth when Cole got an inside the park “homerun” that came off of three errors. In the sixth the Dog bats went to work by scoring eight runs to end the game 10-0. The first six batters reached base and scored. RBI’s came from Stamps’ double to center with two runners on, Anderson’s single, an error, Patterson’s sacrifice, and two more singles by Cole and Ferguson accounted for runs. With the score at 8-0, Stamps came back up in the same inning and doubled to left centerfield for the final two runs and another walk-off hit.
MOCO will play a two-of-three series this week with Hart County. There will be a home game April 4 and a double header at Hart on April 7.