GREENVILLE – Morgan Gilbert, a three year starting shortstop for Coach Jerrod Newland’s Lady Wave Softball program is on the road much of her summer playing for the Ohio Hawks Wagner fastpitch traveling softball team.
“The Gilberts made the commitment to take Morgan’s game to the next level,” said Newland. “The key is speed and surrounding yourself with like top tier kids.”
“Our head coach is from Monroe,” said Gilbert. “A lot of the girls are from the Columbus area – it’s just players from all around Ohio.”
The slick fielding Lady Wave shortstop anchors the Hawks’ infield from her starting shortstop position.
“There are a lot more balls hit to me,” Gilbert stated. “That is just because when you play on a travel team, the other team has just as many good girls so they are putting the ball in play a lot more.”
“Some of the plays can be more challenging because it’s not just about outthinking the other team,” added Gilbert. “They know the game of softball too, so you have to think one step ahead.”
“Love the effort she puts in and gets rewarded,” Newland said. “The top notch programs start on Thursdays and play five to six hours away for a short trip. The time and money gets rewarded when you perform.”
Gilbert hits in the leadoff spot for the Lady Wave high school team but finds herself in a different role in the traveling summer league.
“I typically bat third,” Gilbert noted. “It’s a little bit different look than Greenville.”
Most Lady Wave softball players can be found on many of the area’s fine select traveling softball teams around the state.
“It definitely helps and contributes to Greenville’s success because pretty much all the girls that start for Greenville play on a travel team,” said Gilbert.
Most weekends the team plays six games with a six week schedule that carries the team through mid-July.
“We’re taking a trip to Mississippi for our final weekend so that will be fun,” Gilbert said. “That will be a whole week. After that we’ll be done.”
Many well-known college coaches will be on hand to evaluate the talent at the week-long tournament, a benefit of playing high level select ball.
“Always awesome when you see the TV (television) coaches just hanging out in the front few rows,” said Coach Newland.
“Love the fact that 12-15 college caches get known by name and concession stand food. When you see high level pitching and players it elevates your game – always getting pushed.”
“The Petry’s have played at that level with Jazz and BP (Baylee). The extra always gets rewarded and the atmosphere with top tier kids and programs is always very competitive.”
“A few weeks ago Morgan is playing a top 15 team in the nation with the whole team signed and they get them,” Newland concluded. “Just awesome and proud of her. I do think she hasn’t scratched the surface yet.”
Contact Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at email@example.com or (937) 853-6390-Ext. 1751. Read more news, features and sports a DarkeCountyMedia.com.