By Nick Nunn staff writer
The Morgan County JV Diamond Dogs are still undefeated this season after an 8-3 victory over Banks County followed by a 9-2 win over Apalachee. The two wins last week put the Dogs’ season at 10-0 with six games remaining in the regular season.
After trailing against Banks County 1-2 through the first two and a half innings last Thursday night at home, the JV Dogs had a characteristically explosive inning, scoring seven runs to make their lead 8-2. The Banks County Leopards would manage another single run in the game, but could not keep up with Morgan County’s offensive output, giving the Dogs a 8-3 win. Sophomore Justin Miner pitched the first five innings for Morgan County, allowing only three runs on eight hits, while striking out eight Banks County batters.
Austin Hale shut down six straight Banks County batters to close out the game. Morgan County JV Head Coach Doug Connelly had to depend on several athletes playing in different positions for the game against Banks County, but with good results. “Due to sickness and injury, we had to play a lot of guys out of position in the Banks game,” began Connelly.
“I was concerned because some of the boys had not taken a lot of practice reps at the positions they were thrown into on Thursday. They responded in a big way and our defense was solid as usual.”
“I especially want to highlight the play of Blake Nelson and TJ Howell, who played positions they have not been asked to play in a long while. It was great to see these young men step up to help our team.” Last Friday, the Dogs faced the Apalachee Wildcats in Winder, where they earned their first two runs in the game in the first inning to begin the game with a lead. Miner and Luke Zimmerman earned those first RBIs for Morgan County.
The Wildcats earned a single run in the second inning, and the score would remain 2-1 in the Dogs’ favor until the fifth inning, when Morgan County earned an additional five runs to increase their lead to 7-1. T.J. Howell and Dakota Young both hit two-RBI singles for Morgan County, and Chad Haynes picked up a single run with a single.
Apalachee earned another run in the sixth, but Morgan County capped the game off with two RBIs in the seventh from Dalton Cole and Garrett Frost to bring the final score to 9-2. Zimmerman pitched the entire game for the Dogs, giving up five hits and three walks, while striking out five Apalachee batters. “Luke had a great outing,” said Coach Connelly.
“He worked ahead of their hitters all evening and made them hit his pitches. Our defense turned in another nice effort and really backed him up.” “Dakota Young had another nice night behind the plate,” continued Connelly.
“He made a lot of nice blocks on pitches that were in the dirt keeping them from taking free bases. He saved us several runs.
Those things don’t show up in the stat book, but little things like that are what are helping us to win ball games.” The JV Dogs played against Newton County on Tuesday before traveling to play Commerce yesterday, March 26. Next Tuesday, Morgan County will play against Salem on the road and they will travel to Stephens County next Thursday for their final away game of the regular season. Both games will begin at 5:55 p.m.