Chapel Hill High School was well represented on the recent Georgia Athletic Coaches Association 2014 Fastpitch All-State Softball team. The Panthers had six members honored, including three first team members, and two second team members.
CHHS outfielder and pitcher, Ashley Morgan, led the nominees as one of two Players’ of the Year, along with Greenbrier’s Kirsten McMonigle. Darby Demarest (pitcher) and Savana Sikes (shortstop) were named to the First Team. Hallie Rutledge (first base) and Shelby Robinson (center field) were named to the second team.
Morgan, a sophomore who was recently named DCS County Player of the Year for the second time, had an outstanding season at the plate, on the base path, in the circle, and in the outfield.
Morgan broke several school individual records. She hit .595, with her average dipping below .600 in the final games of the Elite 8 Tourney. She led the county this year with a school record seven home runs, 19 doubles, 69 hits, an on-base percentage of .729, and a slugging percentage of .991.
Morgan had her best game of the year in the second round of the playoffs against Creekview. In game two, she went 3-for-3 with three home runs, also a school record.
“What she did at the plate this year was one of the most unbelievable things I have been able to witness,” said CHHS coach Mick Harper. “People don’t understand the work she puts into it. She is a great example of what hard work can do.”
Morgan was not just a great hitter for the Lady Panthers this season. She also played solid defense in center field and was a solid No. 2 pitcher behind Darby Demarest. Morgan completed the year in the circle with a 13-2 record. She posed a 2.85 ERA over 103 innings of work. Morgan struck out 133 and walked 30.
“She created more runs at the plate than we have ever had but she also saved a lot of runs at the other end,” Harper said. “Her softball knowledge was invaluable to the team. She does a lot of things that make a big difference and she is willing to not do too much. She will take the double to the opposite field instead of trying for the home run. She sees the situation and performs in them.”
While Morgan pitched well this year, no one came even close to dominating in the county like Demarest. The senior was named the DCS Pitcher of the Year. Demarest posted a 1.37 ERA, the lowest in the county, in 123 innings of work. She finished the year with a 19-4 record. Demarest struck out 154 batters and walked only 37. Opponents hit .140.
“Darby showed great senior leadership and the way she was able to perform in her final year at this level was remarkable to me,” Harper said. “She started so many games and was solid and when she had to come into games late she was just as good.”
Sikes, who is only a freshman, was not even supposed to play full-time at the varsity level this season. However, that changed once the coaches had a chance to see what she could provide. Sikes hit .452 this season with an on-base percentage of .569 and a slugging percentage of .722.
She tied for second in the county with 50 runs scored and finished with 37 RBIs. She walked (9) more than she struck out (6), and had five home runs. She had three game winning hits, including two by home run. One of the walk-offs came earlier in the year against Pope pitching phenom, Kelly Barnhill. Brachial is one of the top prospects in the nation and was named 6A Player of the Year.
Rutledge, a senior who was named to the DCS All-County First Team, was third on the Chapel Hill team with a .461 batting average. She had a .533 on-base percentage and a .784 slugging percentage. Rutledge tied for second in the county with six home runs. She had 20 extra base hits, knocked in 52 runs, and scored 24 times. She also walked 15 times.
Robinson, who was also a first team selection, found a way to reach base when it mattered most in 2014. She finished the year with a .469 battling average and a .589 on-base percentage. She led the county with 55 singles, which were nearly as good as an extra base hit because she also led the county with 44 steals. She tied Sikes for second in the county with 50 runs scored. She knocked in 17 runs. She also made only one error in the outfield.