The Lady Tigers will make their first ever Columbus appearance after defeating Cedartown in the Sweet 16 round of the GHSA State softball playoffs held at DCHS on Wednesday and Thursday, October 22 and 23.
It took all three games in the best-of-three series for the Lady Tigers to earn their spot in the Elite Eight round of the GHSA State softball playoffs.
The series started with a doubleheader on Wednesday, October 22.
The Lady Tigers struck first in game one with a RBI single to right field off the bat of Tabitha Morrison to put them up 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Morrison was thrown out at second on the play trying to stretch her hit into a double, but not before Emily Hunsucker had crossed the plate.
The Lady Bulldogs of Cedartown tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the second. Cedartown benefitted from three consecutive singles to load the bases. Dawson starter Joy Lewis got ahead of the next batter 0-2 before throwing a wild pitch that allowed a Cedartown run. Lewis kept the damage to a minimum as she struck out the last two Lady Bulldogs batters to end the inning.
Brooke Wende put the Lady Tigers back on top in the bottom of the third when she connected for a RBI single to left field that scored Lewis from second base, making the score 2-1.
The score remained the same until the top of the seventh when Cedartown tied the game at 2-2 off a sacrifice fly to right field. The Lady Tigers stopped the Lady Bulldogs from getting any more runs in the inning.
With a 2-2 tie the game went into extra innings, putting the tiebreaker rule into effect. Cedartown started the inning with a runner on second, but were unable to plate a run despite loading the bases in the inning. That set the stage for Dawson, but the Lady Tigers also failed to score in the inning despite loading the bases with one out.
In the ninth, the Lady Tigers defense once again held Cedartown scoreless after executing a nifty double play to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, the Lady Tigers were able to move the runner at second over on a sacrifice bunt by Anela Melton. With Melton at third, Hunsucker came up to bat. Hunsucker battled to a full count before hitting a grounder to the third baseman. The third baseman got handcuffed, making her only play at home. However, the throw to the plate bounced off the back of Melton and the Lady Tigers earned the 3-2 extra inning victory to lead the series by one game.
The second game was all Cedartown, as the Lady Tigers offense struggled at the plate throughout the contest and the Lady Bulldogs bats got hot. Cedartown benefitted from two home runs in the game to take an easy 6-1 win.
Maddie Bowman blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth and Katrina Harris slugged a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth for Cedartown.
The lone Dawson run came in the top of the seventh. Melton ripped a RBI single to centerfield to score Katelynn Simpson from second.
The 6-1 game two Cedartown win set the stage for a final and decisive game the next day.
The Lady Tigers controlled game three from the very first pitch. Hunsucker led off the first inning with a single to right field. Sydney McGinnis followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Hunsucker to second. Lewis helped her own cause with a RBI single to right field that scored Hunsucker and gave Dawson a 1-0 lead. With the bases loaded a few batters later, Simpson blasted a three RBI base clearing single to right field. When the dust settled, the Lady Tigers found themselves up 4-0 in the first inning.
Lewis dominated on the mound, setting the first six batters she faced down in order.
Dawson added another run in the top of the third when Natalie Glass hit a rocket shot to centerfield which scored Morrison who was safe on a fielders choice earlier in the inning. Glass RBI extended the Dawson lead to 5-0.
Cedartown mustered one hit in the bottom of the third before Lewis got the next batter to fly out to centerfield and then struck out the next two.
Cedartown finally broke their scoring drought in the bottom of the fourth when they scored their only two runs of the game.
The Lady Tigers added three insurance runs in the fifth and another one in the sixth, giving them a 9-2 advantage.
Cedartown put their lead-off hitter on off a Dawson error in the bottom of the seventh, but Lewis struck out the next batter and forced the next two batters to hit grounders to the mound.
The game three 9-2 victory secured the Lady Tigers first ticket to the Elite Eight in Columbus in school history. With nine different Lady Tigers recording hits in game three, Dawson grasped their historical moment in grand style. Lewis performance on the mound solidified that style as she gave up two runs off five hits while striking out seven.
The Lady Tigers now prepare for the unknown as they are set to take part in their first ever Elite Eight in Columbus. Dawson will take to the diamond on Thursday, October 30, to face off against Ringgold in the Elite Eight. First pitch will be 2:30 p.m.