Baseball season starts, Morgan Senators have long way to go and big shoes to fill

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Matthew Davis pitches for Morgan Academy against Clarke Prep.
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By Fred Guarino
The Selma Sun
The 2020 varsity baseball season is underway at Morgan Academy. And, the 3-4 Senators, who recently hosted the Pepsi Classic Softball Tournament played Feb. 27-29, have a long way to go and with some big shoes to fill from last year’s team, according to Morgan Academy varsity head baseball coach Stephen Clements.

The tournament won by Bessemer Academy was a huge success for the softball and baseball teams said Clements. He said, “It was great to see all the fans and teams enjoying the sunny weather, and we are thankful for all the teams that participated. The Pepsi classic is always a fun time.”

Clements said, however, of his Senators, “We have a long way to go to be a great baseball team, but we will get there.” He said, “We have some big shoes to fill from last season, but this team will gel together and some great things will happen. We have to stay positive and keep working. I think we have only had four days of practice with all player on the field. The rain and cold weather have been brutal on most all baseball programs this season so we will get better every day.”

Last season, the Morgan Academy Senators came within three strikes of winning their first ever AISA State Baseball Championship over the defending state champion Pike Liberal Arts Patriots at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.

The Senators ended the 2019 season with a final record of 30-2 and with their only two losses the whole year coming in the championship series against Pike Liberal Arts to finish as AISA Class AAA Runner-up.

Speaking of big shoes. From last year’s Senators, John T. Morgan Academy Shortstop Gunnar Henderson, who signed a scholarship to play baseball for Auburn University, who was named 2018-2019 Gatorade Alabama Baseball Player of the Year and who was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft, officially signed to play pro ball for the Baltimore Orioles.

Morgan Academy 2019 graduate Dione Allen signed to play baseball at Mississippi Valley State University.

Clements said this season his Senators return only three starters from last year’s team, seniors Matthew Davis, Jeremy Lee and Joseph Estes.

However, it should be noted that Morgan Academy senior pitchers Lee and Davis early signed Division 1 college baseball scholarships. Lee will play his college ball at South Alabama, and Davis will play for Arkansas Little Rock.

Clements said this year’s team also includes Chris Gardner, freshmen Clay Beers and T.B. Clements, junior Ben Feister, D.J. Smiley, Osagie Aghedo, sophomores Trey Jones and Andrew Thomas, senior Porter Edwards, sophomores Matthew Hand and Matthew King, freshmen Allen Lightfoot, Cole Wilson, Jack Moore, Hunter Sheehan and John Allen Ingram and Hayden Roberts.

Pepsi Classic Tournament results:
Thursday: Southern vs. Cornerstone 11- 2; Bessemer vs. Morgan 9-1; Bessemer vs. Russell 8- 0; and Southern vs. Russell 6-4.

Friday: Tuscaloosa Academy vs. Clarke Prep 4-1; Tuscaloosa Academy vs. Southern 6-5; Morgan vs. Clarke Prep 4-3; and Morgan vs. Cornerstone 7-3.

Saturday/Bracket play:
Clarke Prep vs. Morgan 6-2; Tuscaloosa Academy Cornerstone 6-4; Southern Russell Christian7- 4; Tuscaloosa Academy vs. Southern 4-5; and
Bessemer vs. Southern 9-1 for the championship.

Morgan Academy Baseball/Softball Schedule

3/5(Thursday) Tuscaloosa Home 4:00 JV/V
3/6(Friday) Monroe (Baseball Only) Home 4:00 JV/V
3/6(Friday) North River (Softball Only) Away 4:00 JV/V
3/10(Tuesday) Fort Dale*** Home 4:00 JV/V
3/11(Wednesday) Bessemer (DH) (Baseball ONLY) Home 4:00 JV
3/13(Friday) Success Unlimited***(DH) Home 4:00 V
3/17(Tuesday) Success Unlimited*** Away 4:00 JV/V
3/19(Thursday) Wilcox Away 4:00 JV/V
3/21(Saturday) Bessemer (Baseball ONLY) Home TBA JV/V
3/26-3/28(Th-Sat) Tennessee Tournament (Baseball)** Away TBA V
3/27-3/28(Fri-Sat) Southern Tournament (SB ONLY) Away TBA V
3/31(Tuesday) Fort Dale***(DH) Away 4:00 V
4/1(Wednesday) Bessemer (JV Baseball ONLY) Away 4:00 JV
4/3-4/4(Fri-Sat) Lowndes JV Tournament** Away TBA JV
4/3-4/4 (Fri.-Sat) North River Tournament (SB only) Away TBA V
4/6(Monday) Wilcox Home 4:00 JV/V
4/7(Tuesday) Clarke Prep Away 4:00 JV/V
4/9(Thursday) Tuscaloosa(SB ONLY) Away 4:00 V
4/9-11(Thur-Sat) JV     STATE   (BB/SB) Away TBA JV
4/13(Monday) Lowndes Away 4:00 V
4/14(Tuesday) Hooper Home 4:00 V
4/16(Thursday) North River (Softball Only) Home 4:00 JV/V
4/17-4/18(Fri-Sat) Baseball 1st Round Playoff TBA TBA V
4/20-4/21(Mon-T.) Softball 1st Round Playoff TBA TBA V
4/23-4/24(Th-Fri.) Baseball 2nd Round Playoff TBA TBA V
4/23-4/25(Th-Sat.) Softball Regional TBA TBA V
4/29-4/30(Wed-Th) Baseball 3rd Round Playoff TBA TBA V
4/30-5/1(Fri-Sat) Softball State Montgomery,AL TBA V
5/5-5/7(T-Th) Baseball State Montgomery,AL TBA V
**Baseball Only** ***Region Games***