The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

March 13, 2013

Morgan Lamar signs to play softball at Graceland

DIAMOND, Mo. — Morgan Lamar has handled the bulk of the pitching duties the last three seasons at Diamond High School.

But she wouldn’t be terribly upset if she moves out of the circle for her college career.

“I like pitching, but second base is my favorite,” she said. “I didn’t have a whole lot of time there, so I want to continue playing and get more opportunities there.”

Lamar, who played second base on Diamond’s district championship team in 2009, signed a letter of intent to continue her softball career at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. She signed the letter Wednesday afternoon in the school library in front of her parents, Kelly and Tammy Lamar, sisters Meghan and Emalee and Graceland assistant coach Bill Dudek.

“Sports and also academics,” Lamar said, explaining why she chose Graceland. “I have played softball for several years, so college softball has always been a big thing for me. They have a good program, and I want to go there.

“I looked at a couple of colleges around here, and they didn’t have a whole lot of space or opportunities. So we contacted Coach (Bryn) Braddock at Graceland, and she said she would like to look at me. Basically it was really easy from there. She gave us a lot of information very quickly, and it was pretty easy to go there.”

Graceland finished 22-20 last season. This year the Jackets are 3-5 and have yet to start Heart of America Conference play. According to the school website, the Jackets have not played since Feb. 24, and they are scheduled to play this weekend in Oklahoma against Oklahoma Baptist and Oklahoma City.

“We graduated a couple of middle infielders,” Dudek said. “This year we recruited a pretty good pitcher. I’m sure Bryn will look at her at pitcher first, but she’s going to take a lot of ground balls. If she strikes everybody out, she’s going to pitch. What we don’t want to do is waste anybody who has talent.”

Lamar posted a 9-10 record last season at Diamond, walking 25 batters and striking out 67 in 113 innings. She batted .315 with five doubles, one triple, two home runs and 20 runs batted in. She earned second team all-conference and all-district honors after her sophomore and senior seasons.

“After her freshman year, she’s the one who had to hold us down on the pitching (circle) and she did a good job of that,” Wildcats coach Brian Brimacombe said. “She kept the ball in the zone, gave us an opportunity to win games.

“She hit the ball really well the last couple of years. She really loves the game, worked hard at it.”

Before reporting for college, “I need to make sure I have all my mechanics going and making sure everything is working right,” Lamar said.

Lamar, who started playing when she was 8 or 9 years old, has begun practicing with the Nevada Dirt Dawgz, who open their summer schedule next month.

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