Lose Finals 4-1 to Loganville
By R. Alan Richardson
The Morgan County Middle School softball squad had a successful weekend hosting the annual Piedmont Athletic Conference (PAC) softball tournament and finishing a close second to number one seeded Loganville, losing 4-1 in the championship game.
Morgan, the number three seed, took on the second-seeded team Social Circle in the first round coming away with a 12-4 victory. Coach Shelly Hilsman said, “I would say this game stood out the most to me, to get us to the Championship game. The previous two times we faced Social Circle, we tied 7-7 and lost 7-3. We didn’t have our best games and didn’t play to the best of our ability, like I knew we could. But in the game of our tournament the girls definitely showed up to play and won big. You could tell the girls went out and had fun and that’s when they always play their best. They made the routine plays, picked each other up if one made an error, and executed offensively at the plate when it meant the most.” In that game, the Lady Dogs had 11 hits and scored 12 runs. Ryleigh Hilsman went 4-5 with 3 RBIs. Jaleigh Harper and Addison Callaway had two RBIs along with Jayden Daniel and Brooklynn Mims who had one RBI in the game.
The girls took on Loganville in the finale. The Lady Red Devils came into the tournament undefeated and Morgan gave them one of their closest battles of the year losing 4-1. Hilsman, the ace of the pitching staff, pitched 13 of the 14 innings in the tournament giving up six hits in game one. Of the four runs scored, only three were earned as she struck out seven and walked none. Against Loganville, she went six innings giving up six hits, only one earned run. Hilsman struck out seven and gave up three free passes.
For the season, Coach Hilsman made these observations, “Defensively we were very fortunate to have some great pitching.” Her daughter Ryleigh, a seventh grader, finished the season with six wins, five losses, and one tie. She came away with an impressive 74 strikeouts against only 17 walks and a solid 2.49 ERA. Sixth grader Kelsey Vining had two wins, one loss, eight strikeouts, and eight walks. She put up a stellar 1.75 ERA for 2020.
The offense was impacted by a number of players. The Head Coach told us, “Eighth grader, Kymora Smith did a fabulous job as our lead-off hitter for the year and hit her first career homerun this season. Ryleigh led us in batting average at .455 and Mallory Martin had 12 hits on the season.” Smith led the team in hits with 18 while Hilsman had 15. Smith’s slugging average of .600 was first on the team slightly ahead of Hilsman at .545.
The 2020 squad was coached by Hilsman, Andrea Ross, and Alisha Ellis. This year was Hilsman’s third season as the head coach at the helm of the MCMS program. She has been coaching softball for the varsity Dogs and Middle School program in some capacity for the past six years. She serves as a sixth-grade paraprofessional at MCMS.
In closing Hilsman made these comments, “I am just so thankful that we were able to play this season at all. I was so afraid we weren’t going to have a season at all due to Covid-19. From the lowest point of the season when on the day of our very first game when three of our eighth grade players were quarantined for two weeks, to the high of making it to the PAC Championship game, it was a great season.”