By R. Alan Richardson
In a game against a more experienced Youth team, the Morgan County Middle School Lady Diamond Dogs’ softball team came up short. The roster for the young team is dominated by underclassmen, including a majority of sixth graders. On the other hand, Youth, located in Walton County, does not allow sixth graders to participate. Their roster sports predominately eighth graders and the age and size difference between the two teams was apparent.
Morgan’s squad is still looking for their first win, but the future for this young group looks bright. Coach Michelle Ozburn said, “The maturity and experience was obvious today with only three eighth graders on our team. We had some quality hits out there, but still need to focus on our hitting. Tomorrow we will do nothing but work in the cage to improve in that area. We’ve seen a lot of improvement with every game. As long as we do that we’re happy.”
One highlight for the game included Morgan holding Youth scoreless in the second inning. The defense of shortstop Siddalee Outlaw (all of 70 pounds) was outstanding as she accounted for two outs making nice plays on grounders. Pitcher Tallie Ray struck out the leadoff hitter for the other out of the inning. This was the first shutout inning for the youngsters this season. You could see the excitement from the team and coaches. Another highlight occurred in the third inning when Anna Kate Hill led off the inning with a single and then stole second and third. Morgan’s next batter was called out for a delay of game that was a totally unnecessary call at this level of play. These girls are still learning the game and trying to understand signals. Why? Autumn Callaway then singled to drive in a run before Outlaw got an RBI of her own with a single to score the second run of the inning. Again, it was a sign of how promising this team will be looking down the road. The losses they are experiencing now will only make the wins that come later that much sweeter.
Other members of the team include Brianna Lanford, Nichole Hill, Emma Garrison, Emmy Moss, Destiny Smith, Rachel Thrash, Destiny Smith, Samaya Ward, Jayla Keeley, Amelia Anderson, Kelsea Craft, and Casey Godwin.