Six games in three days is no easy task. The Lady Diamond Dogs did just that coming away with a third place finish at the Morgan County Lady Dogs Invitational this past weekend and going 3-3 for the week. The girls are still far from full speed playing without the services of All-State players shortstop Alissa Webb and catcher Madison Henry. Nonetheless the team is holding their own against some of the best competition the state has to offer over the past week.
Thursday evening the Lady Dogs fell to the Jackson County Lady Panthers by a final of 8-2. Jackson County held the number one spot in the rankings until recently with a couple of losses. They are still one of the teams to beat for the 8-AAA Region Championship along with Jefferson. Jefferson is currently ranked number eight in AAA with Franklin County, Jackson County, and Morgan all in the top 20. Let’s just say that this region is loaded folks.
In the Morgan County Lady Dogs Invitational, Morgan came out with a third place finish in a strong field. Friday night the team defeated Duluth 11-4 behind the pitching of Jenna Lyons who went the distance. Duluth struck first with four runs in their opening at bat, but the Dogs rallied to tie things up in their half of the inning. Morgan added four more runs in the second to take an 8-4 advantage. The host team put three more on the board in the fourth inning for the 11-4 win.
The nightcap Friday was a barn burner with MOCO defeating AA state contender Vidalia 2-1. Bailey Nix had a superb outing in the circle. The only run she gave up was in the bottom of the first. After a great diving play on a foul ball in right field by Morgan, Vidalia scored the runner from second on the throw to take a 1-0 lead. Nix came up big in the third when she struck out the final batter with the bases loaded. She then helped her own cause in the fourth with a double. Dakota Cepuran drove her in for the tying run with a single to make it 1-1. Cepuran moved to third on consecutive wild pitches and scored on a Vidalia error for the final and winning run. With time limits in place (tournament rules) in the bottom of the sixth, Vidalia threatened again. Nix did her thing. With the tying run on third and two outs, she struck out the final batter. It was a good win against a good team.
The team played three games Saturday in the tournament losing to Newton High School 3-1 in an early morning game. They then took on eventual tournament champion Banks County falling in another close one 3-0. Banks County’s ace only gave up two hits and struck out eight, but Morgan had a couple of chances to get things going offensively. A timely hit here or there could have made this one much closer. It was not to be. Later in the afternoon Morgan avenged their loss to Newton with a 6-1 victory to take home the third place trophy. Eastside finished second.
The Diamond Dogs are now 12-10 overall and 6-4 in Region action. They are currently in third place behind Jefferson (16-5/9-1) and Jackson County (14-8/8-2). They had a big rematch with Franklin this Tuesday and another important Region contest Thursday with East Jackson. Results of those games will be in next week’s issue of the Morgan County Citizen.
Coach Jason McBay talked about his team’s busy week. He said, “Five games in two days is always a grind, but you find out what your team is made of. We showed some real resilience coming back and fighting in the last game (Newton) after a somewhat lackluster day. The win Friday night against Vidalia took a lot out of us, but so will the playoffs. We have to find a way to dig deeper and not ever let lack of effort be our demise. Overall, I’m proud of how this team has fought and overcome adversity. Our biggest challenges are still ahead of us with Franklin County (Tuesday) and the playoffs right around the corner. I’m hoping our team will continue to believe our motto that ‘The Best Views truly do Come After the Hardest Climbs”. We are gonna have to climb harder than ever and lean on our teammates over the next few weeks.”