Madison County’s softball team is hitting the ground in a full sprint this week.
The Raiders (2-0) shut down Lumpkin County 10-0 Saturday in the season opener, then blasted past Oglethorpe County 11-3 in the opening round of the 17th annual Athens Orthopedic Leadoff Classic. Now, they turn their sights on Morgan County at 6:55 p.m. Thursday as the Leadoff Classic continues at the Madison County Recreation Department. The tournament includes Athens Christian, North Oconee, Franklin County Lumpkin County, White County Elbert County, Walnut Grove, Social Circle, Monroe, Oglethorpe County and Morgan County.
When the Red Raiders play Friday and Saturday will be determined by how the squad does in the tournament. Games are scheduled for 4:30, 6:15 and 8 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
“The tournament is really good competition for the girls,” said new Raider head coach Ken Morgan. “It gives us a chance to see some other good teams in action. And it’s an honor to follow Coach (Doug) Kesler and to keep this tradition going.”
MADISON COUNTY 10, LUMPKIN COUNTY 0
Morgan and the Raiders got the era started on the right foot Saturday as senior Alexis Damron and her Raider hurled a one-hit shutout in a 10-0 win over Lumpkin County.
“Alexis was really good in the circle; she threw well,” said Morgan.
Damron helped make Morgan’s debut a little easier as she pitched a gem allowing just one hit to the 31 batters she faced. She racked up a total of 10 strikeouts and issued just one walk in the five inning run-ruled shortened game.
Lumpkin County was held hitless until they got a leadoff double in the fourth inning. Damron ended the game by striking out the final three batters to give the Raiders a 1-0 early season record.
Dani Lukas led the Raiders at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one RBI.
“We expect her (Lukas) to be one of our leaders swinging the bat this year,” said Morgan.
Elizabeth Nix was 2-for-4 and collected three RBIs on a base loaded double and Courtney Alexander finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. Despite scoring 10 runs on 15 hits, Madison County stranded a total of nine batters.
Courtney Alexander got the Raiders on track with an RBI double in the first inning and an RBI single by Anna McCarty in the second frame helped the Raiders pull ahead 4-0. Lukas also added an RBI double in the second inning.
The Raiders struck for four more runs in the third inning compliments of Alexander who singled and later scored on a passed ball. Nix later gave the Raiders an 8-0 lead after lining a double to centerfield and scoring Haley Gordon, Mallory Smith and Hayleigh Turner.
The Raiders then sealed the win by posting two more runs in the fourth inning. Courtesy runner Kirsten Casper scored on a single by Courtney Weldon and Kelsie Palmer drove home Casie Wade with a double to left field to close the scoring.
Morgan said the he’s appreciative of all the work his assistant coaches have done in the pre-season and thus far. He said his team is young and has a lot of holes to fill after the squad graduated six seniors from last year.
“We just have to improve day by day,” said the coach. “We have a lot of positions to fill.”
Madison County’s junior varsity softball team also opened its season with a win this past week, topping Lumpkin County 4-1.
MADISON COUNTY 11, OGLETHORPE COUNTY 3
Madison County struggled through a first inning where the Patriots totaled three runs aided by two key errors, but bounced back to put the game away in a run-ruled 11-3 win.
Lukas picked up the win, working the complete six innings, allowing three runs on three hits while striking out six. Lukas got off to a slow start after facing eight batters in frame number one but regrouped and held the Patriots to just one more hit the remainder of the game. The Raiders continued to swing the bats well with freshman Mallory Smith leading the way with three hits followed by two from Gordon, Damron, Alexander, Nix, and Wade.
Madison County pulled to within one run after an inning of play. Gordon reached on a single and ended up scoring on a hit to left by Damron. Lukas walked and was lifted for courtesy runner Casper who scored the Raiders second run on a sacrifice fly by Alexander.
The Raiders tied the game in the second inning on a run scoring single by Gordon and took a two run lead in the bottom of the third on a run scoring single by Anna McCarty and a fielder’s choice by Hayleigh Turner. Madison County padded their lead in the fourth frame after striking for three more runs. Mallory Smith drove home Nix with a single and Wade pushed home Alexander with a single to increase the lead to 7-3. Smith scored run number eight on a wild pitch midway through the inning. The Raiders iced the win with another three spot in the fifth inning. Nix led off the inning with a triple down the right field line and ended up scoring on a single by Alexander who dropped in a double down the line in right field. Alexander ended up scoring the final run of the game on a double by Wade.
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