Milledgeville has one of the best pitchers in the area in Emily Bush. So, when she was sidelined with injuries for some 3 weeks of the season, what were the Missiles to do? They turned to Morgan Adolph.
Bush, a dominating senior, was a big reason why the Missiles placed third in the state last season. She's 13-1 this season, but muscle injuries forced her to sit from April 6-26.
Adolph, the team's star junior third baseman, picked up the pitching slack.
"At the beginning of the season, I wasn't expecting to have to pitch that much," said Adolph, who is 10-2 with a 1.26 ERA. "Emily's dad [assistant coach Drew Bush] took me under his wing and taught me a new style of pitching, and I didn't mind it that much. If it meant Emily getting better, then that is what I was willing to do."
Milledgeville head coach Brad Grenoble raved about the above and beyond contributions of Adolph, who is also hitting .518 with 18 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs. The free swinger has walked just five times but only struck out six times in 90 plate appearances.
"What happened was a girl came in who hadn't pitched since her freshman year, Morgan, and she led our team," Grenoble said. "She's probably the MVP of our conference [the NUIC East]."
Adolph has pitched 77 2/3 innings, allowing just 40 hits and striking out 91 while walking 33.
Impressive. But, she hopes she's done pitching this season.
"I'm hoping it's Emily from here on out," Adolph said. "I think I'm pretty much done, and I'm not too sad about that. I'm glad that she's back and is as strong as she was in the past, if not even stronger."
Adolph sometimes has a problem when Bush pitches, but a good problem.
"There's sometimes where it can be a little boring out there," said Adolph, referring to instances like Saturday's regional championship when Bush struck out 17. "It's a good feeling knowing we have someone that strong to lead us."
Milledgeville's success has been built over time. Many of the Missiles play on the same travel team in the summer.
"The juniors and sophomore Brey Henson played together with some girls from Pearl City on the CPC [Chadwick-Pearl City] Fire," Adolph said. "We grew up playing softball together."
Adolph by the numbers
Hitting: .518 batting averge, 18 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, only 6 strikeouts in 90 plate appearances
Pitching: 10-2, 1.26 ERA, 77 2/3 IP, 40 H, 33 BB, 91 SO