By R. Alan Richardson
The Morgan County baseball team remains ultra-hot at the plate this week while the pitchers are shutting down opposing teams with the best. The arms of Hunter Lane, Jacob Anderson, and Ethan Stamps did it again this week with three straight wins over Jackson County. Stamps pitched a 7-0 shutout on Tuesday. That was followed up by a doubleheader win on Friday where Anderson got the come-from-behind victory 6-4 in the opener and Lane was lights out in the nightcap 11-1.
The Dogs now own a stout 18-3 record and stand unblemished in Region 8-AAA at 12-0. You don’t want to count your chickens too early, but a major battle royal is looming in two weeks with those beloved Dragons of Jefferson. All that stands between them and the Dogs is a two-game series this week with non-region opponent Archer Thursday and Friday, and another three-game Region series with East Jackson next week. It’s gonna be a photo finish in 8-AAA folks, and you don’t wanna miss it!
Friday’s wins came not only from the strong showings on the mound, but also at the plate. Morgan took an early first inning 1-0 lead. Stamps led off with a walk and Lane singled to right field, but Stamps was thrown out at third trying to advance. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Blake Silvey was followed by a single from Brandyn Batchelor that loaded the bases for Jaron Ferguson. He drew the walk and got the RBI to get things started.
Morgan added two more scores in the second to give the Dogs some breathing room at 3-0. Maddux Smith got things started with a single to right before Seth Robertson drew a walk. Leadoff hitter Stamps promptly drove one off the right field fence to score the two runners.
However, the Panthers came out strong in the third to tie things up at 3-3. A combination of hits, walks, an error, a hit batsman, and a sac fly did the damage to put Jackson County back in business. In the top of the fifth, they tacked on another run with two outs. A walk was followed up by back-to-back singles to give the visitor their first lead of the series 4-3.
The Dogs weren’t about to let the upstarts take the win without a fight. The fifth was all they needed to secure the runs needed for the win. Anderson got things started with a walk. Ferguson singled up the middle and both runners moved up on a balk. Dominic Arienzo came through in the clutch with a two RBI triple that cleared the bases. One out later, it was Robertson who singled to right to push across the final run of the contest. It ended 6-4. Anderson recorded eight strikeouts on the evening.
The late game was a Morgan County blitz at the plate. Nearly everyone contributed offensively, but it was Stamps who put the Dogs over the top with two blasts to left field that left the yard very quickly. Lane was almost perfect on the mound allowing only a single run in the 11-1 victory.
The two games with Archer this week will be played Thursday at Tracy Brown Field in Madison and on the road Friday at Archer. Both games are scheduled for the first pitch at 5:55 p.m.