What a great story Jessica Morgan has been. Right off the bat (no pun intended), she splashed on the scene as a freshman phenom [.468 AVG, 6 HR, 23 RBI], winning the BLITZ Softball Player of the Year award in 2014. While she didn’t win the award as a sophomore and junior, it wasn’t for a lack of statistical fortitude.
Morgan after her freshman season had committed to the University of Georgia, which alone tells you how impressive she’s been throughout her career. Morgan led the Lady Warriors to 38 wins in her four seasons — including three state playoff trips, and her career closed with an impressive stat line: .490 AVG, 31 HR, 98 RBI. That also includes more than 100 runs scored, 30 stolen bases, 40 doubles and almost 10 triples in her career.
Her senior year saw her hit to the tune of a .544 average (43-for-79), complete with 10 HR, 29 RBI and 29 runs scored. She was an extra-base machine, collecting 13 doubles and three triples, as well as reaching base on seven walks and three hit batsman. A rare breed of power and contact, Morgan only struck out twice during the entire season.
Perhaps what’s the most impressive to us about Morgan is her strong faith in Jesus Christ, and how she continues to be humble despite her massive amount of success.
Our panel of 18 voters, made up of media reporters/broadcasters, former BLITZ players, former coaches and a couple of fans, submitted their Heisman-style ballots for the six finalists for the award:
HISTORY OF SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
No one has ever won any BLITZ Player of the Year award twice with more than one year hiatus in between. Until Jessica Morgan, who wins the award in her freshman and senior years.
2017 – Jessica Morgan – White Co SR C #7
2016 – Paige Cook – Habersham SO SS #6 & Emma Whitfield – Stephens Co SO P #9
2015 – Laken Chambers – Union Co JR P #18
2014 – Jessica Morgan – White Co FR C #7 & Laken Chambers – Union Co SO P #18
2013 – Georgia Webb – Habersham Central SR OF/P #5
2012 – Jenna Abbott – Dawson Co SR P #44
2011 – Angie Hughes – Union Co SR P #10
2010 – Stephanie Satterfield – White Co SR P/1B #22
2009 – Stephanie Satterfield – White Co JR P/1B #22
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE(S)
This class of finalists might be the most competitive collectively we’ve seen for this award, as three of the finalists (Morgan, Paige Cook, Emma Whitfield) all had won the award previously. As Morgan graduates, that leaves both Cook and Whitfield back to battle for the award next season. However, Banks County’s Jaycie Bowen or Kia Santiago presents a good case, as does Habersham’s Adelaide Askew. It’ll be a crowded field once again in 2018.