Mike Morris joined the Harlem football team less than a week before the Bulldogs' opening game.
Mike Morris signs a baseball scholarship with Andrew College with support from his principal, family members and his coach.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
He and friend Rusty James were the team's place kicker and punter, respectively. They would leave practice early and go hunting together. They also fish together, and in baseball they were the Bulldogs' double-play combination.
It was appropriate that James waited to have a ceremony after he signed with Georgia Southwestern State until Morris signed a baseball scholarship with Andrew College in Cuthbert, Ga.
"We're real close, and it was special to have the signing [ceremonies] at the same time," James said.
Morris, a second baseman and pitcher, committed to Andrew in June after an exhaustive search.
He sent out more than 30 letters to schools and said he received about six "serious" responses, most of which he attributes to the legacy coach Jimmie Lewis has built at Harlem.
"I went to some tryouts, and it just worked out with Andrew," said Morris, whose uncle, Lonnie Morris Jr., is a Harlem fixture and a longtime Lewis assistant. "I am real excited about playing at the next level."
Morris said he was worried over whether he would get to play at the college level.
"I didn't know if I'd ever get this chance," he said. "But I worked hard, and it paid off."
Lewis relied on Morris as the season went on, moving Morris into the starting rotation alongside Matt Lewis. While Morris hit a team-high .442, his low ERA made him indispensable on the mound.
"I think we really hit our stride when I joined the rotation," Morris said.
"It was kind of a question mark, but I came in, and me and Matt (Lewis) really started to pitch good. I think that was the key to the rest of our season."
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