The No. 7 Morgan County softball team’s winning streak was broken last week, losing to Franklin County 9-4 on Monday, Sept. 27. However, the Lady Dogs bounced back with four consecutive wins to close out the week. First, Morgan County swept a doubleheader against Cross Creek (Sept. 28), then beat Thomson (Sept. 29) and Burke County (Sept. 30) to close out four days of games.
The Lady Dogs outscored their opponents 58-17 in that time, suffering the most in the loss to No. 5 Franklin County. The Lady Lions are also a team that Morgan County could face in the state playoffs, so head coach Doug Connelly made sure his players knew how important it was to win those last four region matchups.
“We have faced some quality opponents this season, but Franklin County is going to be a test,” Connelly said before the matchup. “It’s a non-region matchup, but we are going to treat it as a playoff game.”
Ace Emma Garner got the start in the circle for the Lady Lions, but was hit with some adversity early. The Lady Lions got some runners on base in the first inning, but the senior pitcher was able to escape the jam unscathed. In fact, both heavyweight Class AAA squads stayed scoreless until the third inning, which is when Franklin County got on the board after a couple of mishaps by Morgan County.
The Lady Lions kept the Lady Dogs scoreless in the bottom half of the third and they added another run in the top half of the fourth. However, Morgan County finally was able to get the goose egg off the board in the bottom of the fourth when Ryan Henderson and Mallory Martin tied the game, 2-2.
Garner suffered a couple of walks in the next frame and Franklin County used that to its advantage. The Lady Lions added two more runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead, but could have added another if it wasn’t for a play at the plate that went in Morgan County’s favor. The Lady Dogs would respond again to some adversity, scoring sophomore Emma Moss on a Henderson infield hit.
However, Franklin County would score five more runs over the next two innings, which solidified the win. The Lady Lions were able to keep the Lady Dogs scoreless and hand them their first loss since Sept. 9. Despite the loss, Morgan County did indeed win the next four games against region opponents. The Lady Dogs celebrated Senior Night on Tuesday, Sept. 28 and beat Cross Creek pretty handily in the double header.
“We’ve got some pretty great seniors,” Connelly said entering the week of play. “They are all leaders and are very versatile. Each has their own great thing that they bring to the table for us.”
The Lady Dogs also beat two decent programs in Thomson and Burke County, respectively. The Lady Dogs took down Thompson, who will more than likely finish No. 3 in the region. Also, Morgan County dominated Burke County, making it the ninth shutout of the season up to that point.
The Lady Dogs entered this week ranked second behind Harlem in the Region 4 AAA standings. The two teams met earlier this season and the latter was victorious, shutting out Morgan County, 3-0. However, the two teams will meet again on Saturday, Oct. 9 in Madison to decide who will be the No. 1 seed in Region 4 AAA.
“Harlem has a really great program,” Connelly said. “Whatever happens, we are focused on improving. We have the state playoffs coming up, and we want to be healthy for that. It’s our goal to make a run in October.”
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