Thursday, April 17, 2014
It's been a good year so far for Cony High School senior Sonja Morse.
Last spring, Morse pitched a one-hitter to lead the Rams to a 2-0 win against South Portland and their first Class A state softball championship since 1983. Tuesday, she signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, a Division II school that plays in the Northeast-10 Conference.
She signed her letter of intent in Portland at the Edge Academy, formerly known as Frozen Ropes, where she trains in the off-season. It was during a couple of summer league tournaments that Morse caught the eye of UMass-Lowell head coach Sean Cotter.
"I never knew he was there," Morse said.
Morse had an unofficial visit to the campus and later practiced with the team on her official visit in late September.
"I ended up striking out a few college girls," she said "That boosted my confidence."
Morse finished at 13-0 for the Rams in 22 games. In 87 innings, she struck out 146 batters while walking 43. Her earned run average was 0.50.
"She peaked out at the end of the playoffs," Cony coach Rocky Gaslin said. "She's a hardworking kid. The tougher the game, the more she bore down."
Morse said she expects to pitch for the River Hawks next season, likely splitting time with one of their returning pitchers. She features a fastball that tops out at 63 miles per hour along with a rise ball, a screwball and a changeup.
"She definitely can not only pitch there but I think she can really make a difference in the program," said Sarah Jamo, Morse's coach at The Edge.
Jamo previously coached at Merrimack, one of the top teams in the Northeast-10 and said Morse's variety of pitches, combined with her control, make her an attractive signing.
"It takes a lot of mental toughness to pitch and Sonja obviously has it," Jamo said. "She has that kind of killer instinct."
Morse will continue to work out with Jamo and her staff once a week until the high school season begins. She was a top hitter with the Rams last season, batting .479 with 30 RBIs and three home runs, but she doesn't expect to hit in college, at least for the first year.
"I'm all right with just pitching," she said.
Morse also met with instructors at the college in the criminal justice program, a major she plans to pursue.
"I want to major in criminal justice with a double major in psychology," she said.
Morse said she will receive a partial scholarship next season.
Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638