DeKalb sophomore Morgan Newport has had one heck of a start to her high school career.
As a freshman, she stepped into the Barbs' No. 3 spot in the lineup and hit .384 with 26 RBIs. The hitting didn't stop as a sophomore this season, as Newport had team highs in batting average (.458), on-base percentage (.532), slugging percentage (.656), triples (three), home runs (three), walks (13) and RBIs (31) for a DeKalb team that made a sectional final for the second straight year.
When she filled in for Katie Kowalski in the circle, Newport racked up a 12-3 record, 1.76 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. DeKalb coach Jeff Davis said she also was one of the team's best defenders in right field.
Newport's all-around success has earned her 2014 Daily Chronicle Softball Player of the Year honors.
"It really helped to have [good] hitters behind me in the rest of the lineup. I could trust that I could just unleash," Newport said. "They could pick me up if I didn't succeed."
The question is, what lies ahead for Newport the next two years?
Over the offseason, Newport focused on getting stronger, and it showed in her power numbers. She plans to do the same this offseason.
One adjustment Newport might have to prepare for is how opposing teams pitch to her. However, DeKalb coach Jeff Davis said teams adjusted to her this season, and she did just fine.
"She's got a desire and a burn to this game that puts her head above other people," Davis said. "Even though [pitchers] kept throwing her away, away, away, she kept getting hits to left field, doubles to left field."
Next season, shevery well could be in the No. 3 spot once again, and Davis expects her to take over the No. 1 pitcher spot, as well.
She's getting in some reps this summer in travel ball with the Wasco Diamonds, and hopes to refine all her pitches.
"I don't think I could pick one in particular," she said. "I guess all of them."
One thing is for sure, the future lies bright for Newport, who attended a camp at Purdue this week, and also will be going to a camp at Illinois, as well as a couple of other smaller camps as she works toward the goal of playing in college.
One thing Davis said the team will need to improve on next year is defense, as Newport's outfield prowess will have to be replaced.
However, Davis feels plenty comfortable with Newport in the circle.
"She mixes up her pitches. She doesn't really let one game drag her down," Davis said. "She's pretty mentally tough up to this point as an athlete."