The Dawson County Parks and Recreation program sent a pair of teams to the 2019 Dizzy Dean Baseball/Softball of Georgia State Tournament from June 21-23 in Carroll County after both teams emerged as District 6 champions earlier in the month.
The Dawson 8U softball team brought home the 2019 Dizzy Dean State Championship hardware after sweeping four games against some of the toughest competition in the state in temperatures approaching 100 degrees.
Entering the final day of the tournament as the No. 9 seed after what Head Coach John Pulley described as “truly awful” the team started June 23 on the practice field at 7:30 a.m. for an hour session before facing off with No. 8 Murray County to start the day.
Although his offense posted nine or more runs in every game of the tournament, including nine runs in the first two innings of the championship game, coach Pulley was quick to credit his defense with the team’s ability to win out in the single elimination tournament.
Team tournament MVP Laila Woody was credited for her outstanding defense in winning the award over offensive juggernaut Preslee Partee who finished the tournament hitting over .800 from the plate.
“Our defense played lights out,” Pulley said. “Normally we can hit, but it is our defense that really gave us the chance to win every game.”
Coach Pulley went on to talk about the grit and determination the team showed after fighting through the loser’s bracket of the District Tournament to win two games in a row against the team that had beaten the first time around to emerge as district champions.
“We knew every game was going to be tough after District,” Pulley said. “But these girls, when they know their backs are against the wall, they find a way to win. They really step up and play ball.
The Dawson 7U baseball team traveled a similar path to the state tournament after recovering from an opening game loss to Jefferson County in the District Tournament June 14-16.
Dawson County went on to win back-to-back games on day two of the tournament to earn a championship rematch with Jefferson to earn the trophy and Assistant Coach Matt Smith talked about the resilience the young team showed in fighting back to win the tournament even in such a small district.
“There are only four (7U) teams in the district, not every county has the resources to support a 6- and 7-year old team,” Smith said. “But they had to face-off against a team that had already beaten them and that takes something.”
The team’s visit to the 2019 Dizzy Dean State Championship did not fare as well with Dawson being eliminated in game one of bracket day a difference that coach Smith also attributed to the difference in districts across the state.
“State is a totally different breed, it is every team from across Georgia,” Smith said. “For our boys it was like playing on a travel team.”