By JD McCarthy
For the Opelika Observer
Beulah softball head coach Stan Pepper knew his team was young but thought the future of the program looked bright. That future may have already arrived, however, as they just rattled off nine-straight wins and will have a chance to win the region on Wednesday.
One of the reasons for their success has been the development of the offense that started out slow but has come alive lately.
“We’re actually solid one through nine in our lineup,” Pepper said. “I don’t feel that we have any weaknesses anywhere.”
Pepper was confident in the top half of his lineup, but it has been the bottom that has helped them win their last couple games he explained.
One of those games was their 4-0 win over Dadeville on Friday, March 19.
With the Lady Bobcats held to just three hits, Katie Morris and Kyleigh Morgan were each able to get on base and score runs from the last spots in the lineup.
Morris’s good work wasn’t limited to the plate as she turned in another dominant pitching performance, pitching a complete game shutout and allowing just two hits and striking out 15 batters.
The Lady Bobcats had a much more comfortable win against Wadley on Monday, March 22,
pounding the Bulldogs 11-0.
Morris once again shined, striking out 10 batters over four innings and going 2-for-3 with a home run, triple and four RBI at the plate. She wasn’t alone in her big day as eight different hitters recorded hits and every batter either scored a run or recorded an RBI.
“She’s been doing an outstanding job, as she always does,” Pepper said of Morris. “She has become a really dominant pitcher. I was very happy to see her be in rare form earlier in the season than normal. We are really excited about the way she is pitching the ball. She usually starts off a little slow, but I’ve been really impressed with the fact that she’s been starting strong and finishing even stronger.”
In four games for the Lady Bobcats, she’s pitched 25 innings, allowed five runs and struck out 42 batters.
It is a team game after all, however. Beulah had to show their ability to come from behind on Tuesday, March 23, overcoming a two-run first inning by Beauregard on their way to a 4-2 win. The Lady Bobcats tied things up in the third inning on a Savanna Clements double and took the lead in the sixth inning on a Phillips double.
Despite the close score, Morris turned in another gem, going seven innings with two unearned runs allowed and striking out eight batters. The offense was led by freshman Abrianna Green who went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, a RBI and scored two runs. Clements had two doubles, a RBI and scored one run.
“Savanna Clements is just a solid ball player for us,” Pepper said of the sophomore.
The Lady Bobcats did not have long to cherish the victory as they faced off with a familiar opponent in Smiths Station on Wednesday, March 24. The game was the fourth time the two teams have met this season and for the third time, Beulah lost to Smiths Station, falling 3-2 and seeing its nine-game winning streak snapped by the team that has given them their last three losses.
Despite the loss, Morris had another great game in the circle, allowing just three runs over seven innings and striking out nine batters.
While the Beulah offence had nine hits, they were never able to get the final hit needed to plate just a few more runs. Phillips and Morgan each had two hits and scored a run with a triple and double, respectively.
Now, with the playoffs in sight, Pepper wants his team to just focus on improving every day as a person.
“I just want to see us improving every day,” he said. “Individually becoming a better teammate. Individually becoming a better offensive and defensive player. Overall, just becoming a better person.”