Jason Stewart said he will never forget the first time he saw Morganne Denny swing a bat. He won’t forget the sound it made, either.
One summer day before Denny freshman’s season, while talking with former Mt. Vernon head coach Mike McGill, Stewart quickly noticed Denny’s potential.
“I told him this kid is going to be something else,” Stewart said of the senior-to-be. “There are very few kids right off the bat that you can tell are going to be special.
“I had three-straight Indiana All-Stars to that point. She was more advanced as a freshman than they were. She has just been phenomenal that last three years.”
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Denny, who started playing softball at the age of 9, proved worthy of the compliment in her first season, hitting .511 with 25 RBIs, 29 runs scored and three home runs.
After hitting a career-best .526 this season as a junior with a county-leading 11 home runs, Denny has been named 2016 Hancock County Softball Co-Player of the Year with New Palestine slugger Issy Hoyt.
Those numbers also helped Denny claim All-Hoosier Heritage Conference honors. She was named ICGSA Third Team All-Statein 3A/4A, as well.
“I always wait for the good pitch and try not to chase too many that are high or low,” Denny said, who verbally committed to IPFW in January. “I want to get deep in the count and not worry about home runs.
“It proves (this season) that I really worked hard and really do love the sport. It is the world to me.”
Currently playing for Lids Indiana Dreams over the summer, Denny has experienced a wide variety of travel ball over the last decade.
And as a 14-year-old, Denny found herself playing against girls two years older on a 16U team — all of which allowed the big-hitter to easily transition to high school ball.
“It helped me progress faster,” Denny said. “It also gave me a confidence boost.”
This season for the 17-10 Cougars, the agile third baseman, who also plays basketball at Greenfield-Central, registered three or more hits in seven games.
She had a season-high four hits against Westfield on April 13 and also finished with two home runs in the win.
She also tallied three or more RBIs in six of the team’s 27 games.
“The ball explodes off her bat; it’s a sight to see,” Stewart said.
The only game she did not register a hit this season was in a 4-3 loss to Pendleton Heights on May 10 — proving just how consistent Denny has been from day one.
And now for her career, Denny holds a .489 batting average to go with 21 home runs, 92 RBIs and 105 runs scored.
“If she continues on her senior year like her first three, you’re going to be talking about one of the best hitters to ever come out of Hancock County,” Stewart said.