By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Varsity Diamond Dogs fell behind in the region last week with a 1-2 loss to the North Oconee Titans and a 3-10 loss to Franklin County on Monday, April 21. Morgan County beat Elbert County 9-1 for their sole region win last week. Morgan County is fifth in the 8-AAA region and will not make it to the state playoffs this year. The Dogs played their final regular season game of the year against the Franklin County Lions on Wednesday, April 22. The Dogs beat Elbert County 9-1 last Tuesday, April 15, after losing their first matchup against the Blue Devils 1-11. Morgan County’s offense began to attack Elbert’s pitching in the bottom of the second inning, when Ross Kirkpatrick was able to earn an RBI on a bunt to get the Dogs on the board 1-0. Cody Harper added two more runs in the bottom of the second inning with a single into shallow right field.

Max Wadsworth increased the Dogs’ lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third with a two-RBI single. The fourth inning saw Morgan County another two unanswered runs to make the score 7-0. Luke Zimmerman earned an RBI with a sacrifice single in the sixth, and Max Wadsworth hit a solo home run in the seventh to bring Morgan County’s total number of runs during the game to nine. The Blue Devils earned their only run of the game in the seventh inning. Clark Owen pitched a complete game for Morgan County, allowing only five hits and no earned runs during seven innings of work. Owen struck out seven batters while allowing only three walks. On Wednesday, April 16, the Dogs took on the North Oconee Titans at home but lost the contest by a slim 1-2 margin. North Oconee put a run on the board in the top half of the first inning, and Morgan County retaliated with a run of their own in the bottom of the first to keep the game tied 1-1. Drew Hale earned the RBI by reaching on an error that scored Maclane Zant.

The game would remain at a stalemate through the fifth inning; neither team was able to gain enough offensive traction to get a run across the plate. In the top of the sixth, however, North Oconee was able to break the tie with a single swing of the bat, which resulted in a solo home run. Morgan County fought to tie the game in their final two chances at bat, but the Dogs were not able to equalize the score. Brantley Frost pitched the first six innings for Morgan County, allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out five batters and walking three.

Ryan Burden took to the mound for the last inning of the game. He walked two batters but allowed no hits or runs for the final three outs. Morgan County fell to the Franklin County Lions 3-10 on Monday, April 21, for the team’s penultimate game of the season. The Dogs took the lead in the top of the first with a single RBI by Drew Hale, but Morgan County gave up the lead to the Lions in the bottom of the second inning, falling behind 1-2. Morgan County would never regain the lead during the game. Franklin added another two runs in the third and then five runs in the fifth inning to put Morgan County behind 1-9. The Dogs added a run in the sixth thanks to an RBI by Ryan Burden, but Franklin was also able to put in their final run of the game during the sixth as well.

Morgan County’s final run came in the seventh with a sacrifice fly RBI by Cody Harper to put the final score at 3-10. Max Wadsworth gave up four earned runs on four hits during the first four innings. Ben Meier took over in the fifth inning but wasn’t able to get any batters out before earning three runs on two hits. Ryan Burden pitched the remainder of the game, allowing only three hits and one earned run. The varsity Diamond Dogs played their final game of the regular season against the Franklin County Lions on Wednesday, April 23. See next week’s edition for the Diamond Dogs’ last game of the 2014 season.