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American Legion finishes third

POSTED: July 31, 2012 5:00 p.m.

The Dawsonville Post 247 American Legion team was one win away from advancing to the regional tournament.

The team, coached by former Dawson County star Kasey Wilson, came up short and lost its last two games of the tournament to finish the season.

Dawsonville closed the season in third place in the state for the first time in Post 247 history. The team ended the season with a 14-10 season.

"We had a fun summer winning a lot of games," Wilson said. "The good news is everyone on the team is eligible to return next season. We were one of the youngest teams in the tournament."

Post 247 won its first two games of the tournament by defeating host Loganville, 9-6, at West Walton Park in Loganville on July 26. The team won game two with a miraculous comeback over Leesburg, 17-11, in a high scoring affair on Saturday.

Wilson's team then dropped its next two games to Rockdale, 11-1, and then Douglasville, 12-8, ending the season.

Dawsonville had a tough task to open the American Legion State tournament.

Post 247 matched up with host Loganville, whose high school team captured the AAAA state championship during the past season.

Loganville came into the tournament with a No. 2 ranking in the state and an impressive 13-5 record.

Earlier this season Loganville defeated Dawsonville 12-2.

This time the result was different as Wilson's team came away with an impressive 9-6 victory.

Dawsonville jumped out to a 1-0 lead off a double in the gap by Clay McClure that drove in Sawyer Thompson. Thompson reached base on a two out double.

In the second inning, Jeffrey Partington hit a towering homerun to put Dawsonville ahead 2-0.

The game was close throughout with Wilson's team holding a 5-2 advantage after five innings of play.

Dawsonville picked up 3 more runs in the seventh inning to extend its lead to 8-2.

Loganville fought back after collecting three walks and then a grand slam cut Dawsonville's lead to 8-6.

Post 247 added another run in the final frame to come away with the opening round win.

Offensively, Dawsonville was led by Austin White with two hits, both were doubles.

Edward Willemse also had a big day at the plate with three hits.

Also having multi-hits were David Chester, Thompson, McClure and Koby Rogers.

Shane Dale pitched seven strong innings with six strike outs and no walks.

"I'm very proud of Shane," said Wilson. "I had a feeling he was ready for a team like Loganville.

"Winning that game was a big time statement, beating the overall number two seed in their home park was big. It was the first time Dawsonville has ever opened up with a win in the state tournament," he added.

Against Leesburg, the No. 1 team in the South Georgia area, the team fought back from a 9-2, seventh inning deficit to pull out the victory.

Dawsonville scored three runs in the seventh inning and followed with eight more runs in the eighth inning to take a 13-7 lead. Post 247 held on to take the win.

Offensively the team was led by White, Thompson, Willemse and McClure who all had huge hits in the win.

Thompson started the game on the mound and was relieved by White and Thomas. It was White's first pitching performance of the season.

"This game was one of the longest baseball games I have ever been a part of, including professional ball," Wilson said. "The game lasted over four hours on a very hot day."

Wilson said he is proud of his team's effort.

"I am very proud of them. This team showed a lot of heart, not giving up and fighting to the end."

In Sunday's game against Rockdale, the team hit the ball very well but could manage only one run. Dawsonville left a lot of runners on base and couldn't come up with a clutch hit.

On the other hand, Rockdale hit several little bloopers and infield hits to take the 11-1 win.

Austin Gooch and Willemse had multiple hits in the game.

It was do or die for Dawsonville against Douglasville, who the team had played during the regular season.

Post 247 recorded several errors on defense that allowed Douglasville to take an early lead.

Once again Dawsonville left several runners on base, 10 to be exact, and just couldn't come up with a big hit to drive them in.

"We had a very good season," Wilson said.

Assisting Wilson this year with the squad was Mark Payne.

 

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