By R. Alan Richardson
In an historical week for the Morgan County Middle School softball program, Coach Shelly Hilsman’s team got their first win in four years over Social Circle and first-ever over Loganville (to her knowledge). To add salt to the wounds of the Lady Redskins, the Social Circle win came on Eighth Grade Recognition Night that featured seven graduates.
Morgan came out of the gate with guns blazing. After pitcher Kendall Smith retired Social Circle in order in the top of the first, Morgan scored two runs to take the 2-0 advantage. Anna Kate Hill led off with a single and then swiped second base. Second baseman, Mallory Martin, drew a walk to put runners on first and second. The duo pulled off a double steal before Leah Spain also walked to load the bases. Cleanup hitter Ryan Henderson got a sacrifice fly to score Hill and Martin later crossed the plate on a passed ball. Smith again sent Social Circle’s first three batters to the dugout and the Lady Dogs struck for two more runs in the bottom of the second. Tallie Ray reached on an error and Amelia Anderson walked. With two outs, Spain got the big hit of the inning when she singled to drive in two runs and give MOCO a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The Ladies added another run in the third and three in the sixth to account for all their runs. In the third it was Emmie Moss that walked to start the rally. She stole second, moved to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Casey Godwin. The bottom of the order came up big in this one. Ray and Anderson both scored in the sixth when Morgan sent eight batters to the plate. Ray drew another walk and Anderson singled. Hill reached on an error and Martin ripped a liner down the left field line to do most of the damage. When the dust settled Morgan had taken their first-ever win 8-1 over a program that has dominated them over the years. It was worth the price of admission to see the celebration afterwards.
Hilsman made these comments, “That’s how we’re supposed to play every game. This was the most sound we have played on defense the entire year. We’ve struggled defensively and made a lot of errors throughout the year. All-around we have a good team with some talent, but so does Social Circle. The four lefties we have in the lineup give teams problems when they bunt, slap, and run the bases for us. It was a nice win for us.”
Smith was outstanding in the circle for the Diamond Dogs. The ace of the staff was on target all afternoon not walking a single hitter and scattering six hits over her complete game seven innings while striking out one. Two outstanding defensive plays negated two of those hits on double plays. In the first inning, Martin scooped up a grounder and tossed to Henderson at first. She promptly fired home to nab a would-be scoring run as catcher Godwin applied the tag. Henderson again pulled off an unassisted double play in the fifth when she snagged a sharp liner and stepped on the bag at first to tag behind the runner. Morgan had four errors in the contest, but two of those were given on tough plays.
We caught up with right-fielder Ray on Saturday and the eighth grader told us this, “We had never beaten either Social Circle or Loganville. It was great to beat them on our recognition night in one of the best games we’ve played all season. We got some good hits and Kendall gave us some good pitching. We made fundamental plays in the best two games ever.”
The girls defeated Loganville 7-6 in the first game of a double-header, but lost 12-0 in the finale. Emmy Moss got the game-winning hit in the victory Friday.
According to Hilsman, because the team split with Loganville Friday, they will have to beat Monticello and will need some help from Social Circle. If they can defeat Carver, the Lady Dogs will still earn a spot in the PAC (Piedmont Athletic Conference) Tournament this Saturday. Results were not available at press time.
Eighth grade honorees included: Kendall Smith, Ryan Henderson, Emmie Moss, Tallie Ray, Anna Kate Hill, Casey Godwin and Leah Spain.