By R. Alan Richardson
The rain and weather have not been kind to the Morgan County baseball team’s schedule thus far. The Dogs have not been so kind to the Hart County Bulldogs over the past week either. After MOCO took care of business Tuesday by defeating their baseball team 8-5, the basketball squad downed them in the State Championship game later in the week. It’s been a long week for the orange and black.
The Diamond Dogs ran away with the Hart County game after a huge six-run fifth inning to down the visitors at Tracy Brown field in their Region 8-AAA debut this past week. Hunter Lane got the big hit when he tripled with the bases loaded on a 2-2 count to push three runs across the plate. Jacob Anderson was instrumental in the win as well with a single in the first to get Morgan’s first run of the evening.
Ethan Stamps got the win on the mound pitching a complete game while scattering five hits and striking out eight batters. Only three of the runs scored against him were earned. The Dogs were hot at the plate racking up 10 hits. Blake Silvey continued his hot hitting going 3-4 with two RBI’s. Dominic Arienzo also added an RBI of his own. Stamps helped his own cause at the plate going 2-4 with two doubles. One black eye for Morgan was in the field where they had five errors that led to three runs.
Morgan fell behind 1-0 in the top half of the first inning, but rallied back with two of their own after the Anderson single. However, it was Hart County that jumped in the lead with two runs of their own in the second and added another in the third. They took a 5-2 lead into the fifth before the Dogs exploded for those six runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning to secure the win. Stamps shut down Hart in the final two stanzas to hold the lead and get the win.
The Bulldogs have been a terror on the base paths this season making good on 56 out of 56 stolen base attempts. Against Hart, they swiped four more.
Coach Merritt Ainslie got us caught up on the young season with these comments. “We are returning a large nucleus of solid players, but it’s still a new team. It’s not the same team as last year. Right now we are looking for our best lineups depending on who our starting pitcher is. There’s no question that our pitching staff is our strength, but we’re still looking to find roles for some of our younger players. We’ve been playing 10 guys consistently at this point. As the season progresses and we get into the middle of our Region schedule, we hope to solidify our lineups and gain some confidence in more of the players.
So far, younger guys like Tristan Stapp and Seth Robertson have really stepped up their games. They both seem to find a way to get on base and they both have speed. Blake Silvey has worked his tail off and is living up to expectations behind the plate. He’s the man back there now. Brandyn Batchelor has done a nice job at first base and has been getting it done at the plate as well.
The guys are working hard to reach their potential in every aspect of the game. We certainly aren’t there yet. When we get there, we’ll be tough to beat.”
The Dogs were scheduled to have five Region games this week. Monday was a double-header makeup at Hart County and Tuesday the Dogs traveled to Monroe for the first game of that three-game series. Wednesday, the Dogs returned home for a makeup game with Madison County. MOCO will play Friday (3/15) in a double-header with Monroe at home. Those two games will start at 5:00.