SOFTBALL: LFO’s Morrison set to bring versatility to Bryan

LFO senior softball player Kourtney Morrison signed a letter of intent to continue her playing career at Bryan College last week. Also on hand for the ceremony was Bryan College head coach Mark Ritchhart, LFO head coach Tony Ellis and LFO assistant coaches Kensey Sholl, Nicole Josephsen and Lauren Dyer. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

After a solid prep career at LFO, senior softball player Kourtney Morrison will be moving on the college level next season.

Morrison made her choice official this past Thursday when she signed with the Bryan College Lions and new head coach Mark Ritchhart.

“(Playing in college) is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first started playing softball when I was about eight years old,” Morrison said. “Today is a start to something new and it means furthering my softball career.”

Morrison said she had originally considered playing elsewhere, but changed her mind after a visit to the Bryan campus in Dayton, Tenn.

“I saw how beautiful it was and just the atmosphere made it feel like home for me, personally,” she explained. “I just loved it.”

Ritchhart said he was “excited” to get Morrison into the fold.

“I saw her play for the first time at a high school tournament and I was very impressed,” he said. “I’m the kind of coach that watches things beyond the softball field. I watched her after the game, how she communicated with her coaches and teammates and things like that.

“She was so impressive in the circle. She really controlled the field and I was really impressed with her off the field, with just her enthusiasm and her camaraderie with her teammates and her leadership skills. When I met her, I was impressed with her conversation skills and I had heard that she was an intelligent young woman as well, so it’s nice that we don’t have to be so concerned, academically, once she gets in the college.”

Morrison was named the 2017 Region 6-AAA Pitcher of the Year, going 17-10 with a 2.72 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 167 innings pitched as the Lady Warriors won their sub-region and advanced to the region tournament finals. They would go on to finish in the Sweet 16 of the Class AAA state tournament.

At the plate, she hit .381 with nine doubles and one home run while driving in 27 runs.

“She was a workhorse for us and she is probably one of the best pitchers we’ve had around here in a while,” LFO head coach Tony Ellis said. “She’s just a hard-working kid that deserves everything she gets and we’re just really proud of her.”

As good of a pitcher as she is, Morrison might end up being on the receiving end of some pitches while at Bryan.

“She’s a good hitter, but a lot of people don’t know how good of a catcher she is,” Ellis added. “I think she could be a good pitcher in college, but I think they are going to use her in a lot of different places.”

“When she came to our tryout, she pitched some for us, but I really wanted to see her as a catcher,” Ritchhart added. “Her release time and her pop-to-pop time were really, extremely, unusually fast. It’s uncommon that you can find a player that can play on both sides of the battery.”

Morrison said she is considering studying Engineering in college with an eye towards architecture.