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High School Notebook: Chargers’ Morgan to pitch for UNC

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

THE FREE LANCE-STAR

A combination of natural talent and a strong work ethic earned Chancellor High School junior baseball standout Jason Morgan scholarship offers from four Division I programs.

Morgan recently decided which one he wanted to play for when he orally committed to the University of North Carolina.

Morgan chose the Tar Heels over scholarship offers from Duke, East Carolina and Virginia Tech.

“He has all the upside in the world,” Chancellor baseball coach J.P. Gibbons said. “He’s a fierce competitor and he has a work ethic beyond what I’ve seen as a normal or above normal high school athlete.”

Morgan is a wiry right-handed pitcher, whose fastball consistently clocked at 88–89 miles per hour. Gibbons said he topped out at 91.

The Chargers struggled to just two victories last season, however, and Morgan finished 1–7. He recorded a 3.23 ERA and 63 strikeouts. He had a career-high 17 strikeouts in a 4–3 win over Spotsylvania.

“Any game that he pitched,” Gibbons said, “we had a chance to win.”

Gibbons said Morgan was scouted by college coaches on the travel scene this past summer. He said Morgan jumped on the UNC offer because the Tar Heels are consistently one of the top programs in the nation. They reached the College World Series five times between 2006 and 2011. They played for the national championship in ’06 and ’07.

Gibbons said college coaches told Morgan that if he continues to develop they envision him as a weekend starter, which is usually reserved for top-of-the-rotation pitchers.

“Come [MLB] draft time two springs from now, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was chosen anywhere from the fourth to eighth round,” Gibbons said. “He has natural ability, but he’s put in a ton of work to perfect his craft.”

TWO PANTHERS TO SIGN

Morgan isn’t the only Spotsylvania County pitcher to solidify college plans recently. Massaponax softball teammates Taylor Lee and Maiven McKnight are set to sign national letters of intent with Division I programs.

Lee will sign with Drexel, which is located in Philadelphia. McKnight is headed to North Carolina A&T. The senior pitching duo rotated starts last season and helped the Panthers improve from two wins in 2011 to 11 in ’12.

Lee had a 2.42 ERA last season with 77 strikeouts. McKnight registered a 3.00 ERA with 62 strikeouts.

“They’re just all-around good ball players and good kids,” Massaponax softball coach Ric Dugan said. “They both have good fastballs and they don’t get rattled at all. We’re looking for big things out of them this year.”

RUNNING WITH THE TRIBE

Stafford senior cross country standout Ian MacLeod will compete for William & Mary, Indians coach Pete Augrom said.

MacLeod finished second in the Commonwealth District, third in the Northwest Region and 21st in Group AAA this past season. He owns the school record, and he helped lead Stafford to the 2011 team state title.

“His freshman year he came in and made an immediate impact as our fifth guy,” Augrom said. “To see where he’s progressed from there to be part of our state championship last year and this year setting the school record and running up front in a lot of big races, it was good to see.”

GAME AVAILABLE ONLINE

North Stafford athletic director Margaret Lowry prefers that those who want to see the Wolverines football team host Brooke Point in the Northwest Region, Division 5 semifinals Friday night visit the school’s stadium.

But there is an option for those who aren’t able to do so. They can watch the game live online at stafford.north high.schoolfusion.us.

Mountain View had a similar option for its home games this season, but Wildcats athletic director Greg Margheim said it’s not available for their road trip to Freedom High School to face Potomac on Friday night.

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/11/14/high-school-notebook-chargers-morgan-to-pitch-for-unc/