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Lady Tigers sizzle to start season
6JVJ Joy Lewis

The Lady Tigers softball team started the 2014 season with an offensive explosion that blew their competition out of the water when they participated in a softball tournament held at Lanier Pointe Softball Complex on Saturday, August 9.

The tournament, originally scheduled to start on Friday, August 8, was postponed due to inclement weather. The rainout set up the Lady Tigers to play three games on Saturday.

The postponement appeared to have little effect on the Lady Tigers bats.

In game one, Dawson dueled with region rival West Hall.

West Hall had no answers for the solid pitching of the Lady Tigers. However, the real story of the game was that West Hall could not stop Dawsons offense.

The Lady Tigers routed the Lady Spartans 13-0 in a run-rule shortened game that only lasted four innings. The decisive victory gave Dawson their first win of the new season while showing the competition at the tournament that the Lady Tigers were a team to beat.

In game two, the Lady Tigers squared off against Flowery Branch for what would end up being an epic battle between the two squads.

Flowery Branch took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning by taking advantage of some defensive miscues by Dawson.

The lead off batter for Flowery Branch hit a grounder to the shortstop that took a funny hop, allowing the runner to make it to first base before the throw. A wild pitch by starting Lady Tiger pitcher Joy Lewis allowed the baserunner to advance to third and a throwing error allowed Flowery Branch to score the run. Lewis finished the inning with a strikeout, limiting the damage.

In the bottom half of the frame, Dawson took no time to answer back. Leadoff batter Emily Hunsucker ripped a single to left field. The Flowery branch left fielder overthrew the second baseman and Hunsucker was on the move. Hunsucker never hesitated as she rounded second. Another throwing error got by the Flowery Branch third baseman and Hunsucker rounded third to score the Lady Tigers first run of the game. Katelynn Simpson added another run for Dawson later in the inning when she connected for an RBI single that put the Lady Tigers up 2-1.

Dawson struck again in the bottom of the second when Hunsucker hit a RBI single to centerfield that widened the gap to 3-1.

Lewis got into trouble in the next inning. Lewis allowed three consecutive hits to Flowery Branch which tied the game at 3-3.

The score remained the same until the top of the fourth. Flowery Branch again took advantage of a Dawson defensive miscue. The Lady Tigers recorded two errors in the inning to give Flowery Branch a 4-3 lead. Flowery Branch added another run in the top of the fifth off a RBI single that found the gap in left centerfield, giving them a 5-3 advantage.

Things looked dire for Dawson in the final inning down 5-3 with two outs and a runner on first, setting the stage for Simpson to be Dawsons last hope in the game. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Simpson delivered for the Lady Tigers, blasting a two-run homer to deep centerfield. The blast tied the game 5-5.

I didnt even know that it tied the game, said Simpson. But, when I got a hold of it I knew it was good.

With the tiebreaker rule in effect for extra innings, Flowery Branch started the eighth with a runner on second base. Lewis struck out the first batter on five pitches. The next batter Lewis faced hit a pop fly that landed in the left fielders glove. With two outs, Lewis threw a wild pitch that moved the runner to third. With a full count on the batter, Lewis threw a pitch that hung over the plate a bit too much and Flowery Branch took a 6-5 lead off a RBI infield single. Lewis retired the last batter by inducing a pop fly that was caught by Hunsucker at third.

In the bottom half of the inning, Dawson started with a runner on second that was immediately moved to third off a sacrifice bunt that brought the tying run 60 feet away. The next Lady Tiger batter knocked in the tying run with a RBI single to left field to make the score 6-6. The Lady Tigers were able to keep the bats going with a single by Sam Keeney that put runners on first and second. The next Dawson batter, Natalie Glass hit a rocket shot to third. The Flowery Branch third baseman missed the tag on the force out at third, giving the Lady Tigers bases loaded with one out. That gave Lewis the opportunity to help herself record a win in the game. Lewis battled with the pitcher, forcing a full count. With the game on the line, Lewis connected with the next pitch that sailed into centerfield. The center fielder came up throwing towards home, but not before Keeney crossed the plate to give the Lady Tigers a 7-6 comeback victory. The win brought the teams record to 2-0.

The bats for Dawson remained on fire in the third game versus Rabun County. The Lady Tigers exploded for 14 runs in four innings, taking the third game of the tournament 14-0 in a run-rule shortened game.

The Lady Tigers finished the tournament at 3-0, showing complete dominance on the diamond.

We have a lot of room for improvement, said Jimmy Pruett, DCHSs head softball coach. We did a great job and had some great games.

The Lady Tigers will look to improve their record when they travel to Lumpkin County to take on their region and neighboring rivals varsity and JV teams on Thursday, August 14. The first game will start at 4:30 p.m.