“It’s easy to get burnt out if you don’t absolutely love the game of softball like I do,” says Tabitha Morrison, a Dawson County alum (c/o 2016), who now shines on the diamond at nearby Brenau University in Gainesville.
Luckily, the junior outfielder continues to enjoy every moment of her collegiate career. There’s no lack of passion in her play.
Morrison is in the midst of a great 2019 junior season that has seen her hit for a career-high .368 average to go with a career-best in runs (21), slugging percentage (.447), and on-base percentage (.392). She has 16 RBI on the year, two shy of her career high in 2017, and she has four doubles and a triple, along with a pair of stolen bases.
For her Golden Tigers career, Morrison has 92 hits and a .272 average, 1 homerun, 42 RBI, 53 runs, 19 doubles, a triple, and 13 stolen bases to her name. An everyday player since her freshman year, Morrison has done well to ensure that her love of the game is there, kept her body in top physical shape, and most importantly, remained humble.
“I don’t feel like I’ve ever struggled with being humble in the game of softball, simply because I always feel like there is something I could have done better,” says Morrison. “I am a perfectionist, so even if I went 3-for-4 during a game, but popped up once, I would still be mad at myself for popping up that one time. Even if I have a good game, I don’t get a big head because I know i’m going to have many more games to play in where I need to perform well in.”
While her stats are certainly worth boasting about, she realizes the importance of staying grounded, especially in a sport that can humble you in a heartbeat (or one at-bat).
“I think it’s important to be humble no matter what sport you play because you might do very well one game, but the next game could be completely different and things may not go your way,” adds Morrison.
With so many games being played (133 so far in her collegiate career), and practice and training year round, it’s easy to see how a softball star can also be prone to injury.
“We spend about 20 minutes before games stretching and doing agilities,” says Morrison on making sure she takes care of her body. “On off days, I try to get some cardio in either on the treadmill or the elliptical just to work out my soreness and keep my muscles from getting tight.”
There’s another aspect to Morrison’s success as well – and that comes in the classroom.
“Softball season is always a struggle because not only do you have games and practices all week, you have classes and assignments you have to stay on top of as well,” states Morrison on the difficulties of being a student-athlete.
Throughout the many highs and very few lows in her career, Morrison is always tapping into that perfectionist side of herself to get better. This year in particular has proven to be some of her best softball yet.
“This season I have focused on my composure at the plate rather than worrying about my technique so much,” she says. “After a bad sophomore slump, I realized that confidence is more important than having a perfect swing. Another thing that has helped me be more successful at the plate this year is utilizing my speed more by bunting to get on base. As far as batting averages go, a bunt for a hit is the same as a double. I set a goal for myself to get at least one real hit each game and one bunt for a hit each game. I like to mix it up because it keeps the defense wondering what i’m going to do. When the corners are playing back, I usually sneak a bunt. If they are playing up, I hit away. In centerfield, I just focus on being focused during every pitch and moving where I think the batter is going to hit it.”
To Morrison’s statements, she has seen a rise in average from .206 last year, up 162 points to a whopping .368 in her junior campaign. Her OBP has risen 149 points to .392 this year. Her ability to get on base has translated to more runs (21) than she had all of last season (13). Her play in the outfield has also been very good, as she’s been error-free in 2019 and has a career-high 3 assists (5 career). Despite some struggles at the plate as a sophomore, she’s typically been a great fielder, committing just one error last year and just 3 in her career so far.
Morrison, a BLITZ Hall of Famer, hit .440 with 8 HR and 95 RBI in her illustrious Dawson County career, and swiped 80 bases, tallied 50-plus extra base hits, and was a two-time All-State selection in Class 3A.
Her Golden Tigers are 25-7 on the season (14-6 in conference action), and return to action on Tuesday, April 9 at 3 PM at Reinhardt. Brenau closes the regular season with 10 straight road games.
Feature Photo by BU Golden Eagles