Leila Dycus

Staff Writer

The Lady Dogs start their season off strong with a second place finish in the Madison County Leadoff Classic last week.

The Varsity Lady Dogs softball team began their season Tuesday August 14 with a game against Hart County. The game was not only the season opener but also a key region game to open the season with. The Dogs went on to beat Hart County 13 to 4.

In the Hart County game the Lady Dogs struck first in the top of the second with an RBI single by Sydney Walker. Walker drove in Laney Crawford who had singled to lead off the inning. In the third inning the Lady Dogs exploded for 9 runs, as 12 Morgan hitters would step to the plate. Key hits of the inning went to Alishia Firerson with a 2 RBI double.

However, Hart did not go quietly. The Bulldogs struck for three runs of their own in the bottom of the forth inning to bring the score to 10-3. In the fifth inning the tow teams traded runs.

However, in the sixth inning Morgan County struck for two runs when Alisha Ellis hit a two run homer to left field bringing the score to 13-4. Hard County was unable to score in the home half of the sixth inning and the game ended due to the mercy rule after six innings of play.

“Alishia Frierson was dominant in the pitching circle for Morgan County,” said Head Coach Doug Connelly. “Frierson worked four plus innings and recorded eight Ks before leaving with soreness in her right arm- she surrendered just 3 hits and gave up zero earned runs.”

Senior Hayden Massey took over after Frierson’s departure. Massey went on to pitch two coreless innings. Offensively, the Dogs collected 10 hits as a team, including two to three performances by Hannah Carver and Alisha Ellis. Carver scored three runs for the Lady Dogs and Ellis scored twice. Crawford finished the day one and two at the plate but reached base three out of four times and scored three runs.

The Lady Dogs softball team then went on to play in the Madison county Leadoff Classic Thursday August 14 at Sammy Haggard Park in Danielsville. Morgan County took on Madison County in pool play for their first came.

It was the first time in over six years that the Morgan County Lady Dogs were able to pick up a victory over Madison County on the softball diamond. As the Lady Dogs entered the bottom of the seventh inning trailing two to zero, Alishia Frierson led off the inning and reached first due to a hit by pitch.

Aubree Cox then came up and battled through a nine pitch at bat to earn a walk. Ellis then executed a phenomenal bunt and reached first safely. The bases were load and no outs; Freshman Avery Kirby stepped up and ripped a single to the middle of the field.

Frierson scored easily from third base and Cox slid into home plate just as the Red Raider catcher lost control of a throw from the center fielder. Cox’s run tied the game at 2 with two players standing on second and third base. Madison County intentionally walked the next batter Ansley Dean in order to set up the force play at the plate.

Walker then stepped in a struck a gaming-winning walk of single to the right center gap. Coach Connelly said that Hayden Massey pitched a master piece- starting off the game and worked into the seventh inning before handing the ball to Frierson. Frierson retired the Raiders in order to keep the score at two to zero heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Massey’s went 4 Ks and just 5 hits given up and one earned run.

Following the big win over the Red Raiders the Lady Dogs went on to take on Oglethorpe County in pool play. The Dogs easily beat Oglethorpe 11 to 0. The win secured the right to play for the tournament championship in the Gold Bracket of the Medal Round.

Overall, the Lady Dogs collected 14 hits in the game- every started had at least one hit. Coach Connelly said Frierson got the win in the circle for the Dogs, working four innings and surrendering just two hits.

Ansley Dean came on in relief and worked a scoreless fifth inning to close out the game. On Friday August 15 Morgan County took on Elbert County in an extra game. As part of the Leadoff classic the teams were given an extra game on Friday evening that does not count toward the medal bracket standings. Morgan County was paired with region foe Elbert County. However, this game did not count towards region standings. Ansley Dean pitched for the Dogs in the game against Elbert. Dean gave up a run in the first inning and then pitched a scoreless second. Massey stepped in to take over as pitcher in the third inning with the bases loaded and no outs. She went on to work the Lady Dogs out of the tight spot- only allowing one run to score.

The Lady Dogs scored four runs in the third and four runs in the forth to take the lead 9-2. Frierson went three and three at the plate including a two run homer and two RBIs. Walker also led the way for the Lady Dogs with two hits and two RBIs.

Next Morgan County took on Walnut Grove in a Gold Medal Game. The Lady Dogs got off to a rocky start, as they saw the Warriors take a 9-2 lead through the first five innings. However, Morgan County would not go down with out a fight as the Dogs struck for three runs in the sixth inning and left the bases loaded. The loss to Walnut Grove was the first setback of the season for the Morgan County softball team.

On Saturday the Lady Dogs came back ready to finish out the tournament. They faced White County first in a Gold Medal Game.White County took the early lead 2-0 after one inning of play. The Dogs responded in the second with three runs of their own. Massey had an RBI single as well as Alishia Frierson to bring home runs in the inning.

White County tied things up at three in the bottom of the fifth. In the top of the sixth Morgan finally broke the game open with five runs. Ansley Dean had had the bases loaded, 2 RBI double and Ashley Backus executed a squeeze bunt. Massey got the start as pitcher and went for four innings- surrendering four hits and three runs. Frierson replaced her holding the Warriors to hitless and scoreless.

Morgan County beat White County 8-3. Finally the Lady Dogs took on Athens Chrisitan. The Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. However, that would be all the runs the Eagles would manage off starting pitcher Frierson. The Lady Dogs scored 10 unanswered runs over the final four innings. The Lady Dogs beat Athens Christian 10-3.

Frierson worked all five innings of the game giving up three runs and two hits and striking out four. At the plate Frierson had six RBIs including a grand slam, which essentially sealed the win. The Lady Dogs also had an outstanding team defense. The win over Athens Christian secured the Dogs a second place finish and their highest placement in the Madison County Leadoff Classic in eight years.