By Nick Nunn
The members of the Morgan County All-Star junior fastpitch softball team were crowned state champions after defeating Hendrix Park twice last Saturday July, 13 in the last rounds of the 2013 Georgia Recreation and Park Association Class C Junior Girls Fastpitch Softball State Tournament.
Morgan County faced a tough road, after an early loss to Dodge County sent them to the losers’ bracket, but the team fought back, defeating Heard County with a run rule victory, beating Adel-Cook 12-0, and then taking on Dodge County for a second time in the semi-final, who they beat 9-6.
In order to win the championship, Morgan County still had to beat Hendrix Park twice, since they had not lost during the tournament until then, and the girls came out in fine form, beating Hendrix Park 15-3 in the first game and then 8-2 in the championship game.
Although the team was willing to fight to get as far as they could, Coach Robin Couch said that, on Friday, their goal was a little closer: beating Dodge County in their second matchup.
“The girls were focused on getting to the third game on Friday and beating Dodge Co. I am not sure they were even thinking about getting to the championship. They just wanted to beat Dodge,” said Couch.
“Having to play Dodge the last game of the day was an advantage to us, I think, because it always takes a little time to get our bats going. We were good and warmed up.”
“Our pitching was brilliant. I have to hand it to Alishia Frierson for being able to adjust. Our defense backed her up though with little or no errors.”
Assistant Coach Kemp Crawford spoke about the fight the girls faced moving up through the losers’ bracket after the first game against Dodge County.
“It would have been a little less stressful to have won all the way through, but I wasn’t worried,” said Coach Crawford. “Those girls were committed to win. They have been in this spot before and fought their way through the loser’s bracket to take many championships. They don’t quit.”
“These girls are all standout players,” continued Crawford. “Alishia Frierson was amazing. I already knew she was a player, but I have coached for many years and never seen a pitcher make some of the adjustments she did. Alisha Ellis hit her first home run just as Dodge County was beginning to gain momentum. It was a major turning point.”
“Avery Kirby was absolutely amazing. She hit the ball hard all week and played solid defense. And this kid is an upcoming eighth grader playing with mostly ninth and tenth graders. She is a dream player for a coach.”
Savanna Lowe, another member of the team, wasn’t able to compete after breaking a finger in an earlier tournament and then suffering from an allergic reaction just a few days before the state tournament.
“She still came and did all she could,” said Crawford. “She was committed to this team and I was proud of her!”
Congratulations again to the Morgan County Junior Girls All Stars on their state championship in 2013.
Morgan County Junior Girls All Stars
Coach: Robin Couch
Assistant Coaches: Terry Massey, Kemp Crawford and Marty Frierson