Sophomore Cody Morris matures on the mound for Reservoir

(Photo courtesy of Ginny Stone)
Cody Morris pitches against Glenelg. (Photo courtesy of Ginny Stone)

Like most young pitchers with budding talent, Reservoir‘s Cody Morris relied on a strong fastball as a freshman. Even when his go-to pitch, which has been clocked near 90 mph, zoomed straight over the plate, batters couldn’t catch up, resulting in a 6-1 record, 65 strikeouts and a 0.99 ERA last season.

But with opposing hitters beginning to realize Morris’s tendencies, the sophomore has had to expand his arsenal, leading to the type of performance he put on in Monday’s 3-2 win against Glenelg.

After relying on the same fastball for the first two innings and giving up two runs in the process, Morris mixed began to mix in off-speed pitches. Behind an effective curveball and change-up, the right-hander finished with 12 strikeouts in a complete-game one-hitter.

“Cody is literally maturing before our eyes on the mound this year,” Gators Coach Adam Leader said after Monday’s game. “He’s done a good job, especially the last two games, of moving the ball in and out. He’s learning that it’s not all about just pumping the ball by people but thinking where you want to throw it.”

Having a hard-throwing ace like Morris, who holds offers from Maryland, Virginia and Liberty, has been an aid to his Reservoir teammates. After facing Morris in offseason practice, the Gators are already primed to face some of the area’s top pitchers. On Monday, Reservoir scattered eight hits against Glenelg’s Logan Dubbe, a talented right-hander who struck out eight batters behind accuracy and a good fastball.

“I remember freshman year, the first time I hit live off Cody, it surprised me how good he locates his fastball and how good his off-speed was,” sophomore third baseman Jack Barry said. “When we hit off him in winter, throwing as hard as he does and the way he locates his off-speed, it helps us to adjust to good pitchers and I think that’s why we ripped up against Logan.”

Morris, an honorable mention All-Met, hopes his continued evolution on the mound will help the youthful Gators defend their Howard County district crown. Reservoir, which features nine sophomores, has won four of its last five games with a contest against first-place Oakland Mills on tap next week.

“I’m learning how to use my off-speed [pitches] and fastball to show different looks and get some outs,” Morris said. “Our offense has been really hot lately and our defense played well really well [Monday]. If we can all keep that up, we can turn this youth movement into success.”

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