If you thought Monarch senior pitcher Andrew Morris had more fun playing the game this season than anyone else in the state, you just might be right.
Taking notes and doing “baseball duties” during his junior year instead of between-starts pen sessions would make anyone eager to get back on the diamond.
Once he returned for MoHi in 2018, Morris had a bulldog mentality on the mound but shared a lighter side — a more jovial passion, if you will — for baseball, and it resulted in a stellar season for both him and the Front Range League champion Coyotes.
He learned a lot charting pitchers last year while sitting out with arm discomfort, and it showed both at the plate and on the mound this year. For excelling in both hitting and pitching, Morris is the BoCoPreps.com player of the year.
“I just thought this whole year was so much fun. Missing last season was really tough but it kind of made it all better to come out and win the league, play with all those guys and just get to do everything we did,” said Morris, who is still suiting up for Monarch’s summer team before venturing off to Colorado Mesa in the fall. “I loved every minute of it.
“Our last game was absolutely wild … probably the most intense and fun game I’ve ever played in my life so far. It was a great season and we accomplished a lot, and I was glad to be part of it.”
Morris pitched and hit as if he alone wanted to carry Monarch to a deep postseason run. Winning the league still didn’t warrant getting to host a regional (yep, the ratings percentage index got them), and that meant a trip to Cherry Creek for one of the toughest regionals in Class 5A. Monarch battled for 13 innings with Rock Canyon but ended its season earlier than expected and with a 13-7 mark.
In that game, Morris pitched in relief and threw 6 2/3 innings of 1-hit ball, striking out nine batters. That was par for the course for the season, however, as he would end up going 8-2 with 98 strikeouts and a 1.97 earned-run average. During one particularly dominant stretch from April 14 to May 1, he went 5-0 and allowed just seven runs (five earned) over 31 2/3 innings (a 1.11 ERA). He racked up 50 strikeouts in those wins over Greeley West, Fort Collins, Legacy, Broomfield and Fairview.
His bat showed up even faster to begin the season. In his first eight games Morris hit .429 with four doubles, and he ended the season with eight multi-hit games, a .361 average and six stolen bases. He also scored 16 runs and added 11 RBI.
“I feel like I started a little slow pitching-wise because I was throwing instead of pitching, but I think I developed really well the more we got into the league,” said Morris, who was also voted by league coaches as the FRL player of the year. “There are a lot better hitters on the team, but I just tried to do my job and help out the team when I could.
“Missing last year drove me a lot, but everyone around me, being in that team environment and the support, helped out big. Our team chemistry was amazing.”
Because he is young for his class, Morris will redshirt his first year at CMU, translating to more behind-the-scenes activities and a lot more potential for learning at one of Division II’s most competitive baseball schools.
And then … look out.