If there were any questions about how long the starting pitchers for Dawson County’s varsity baseball team could last in the first region series of the season, those were quickly answered by juniors Trey Harvey and Joshua Priest, who helped anchor the Tigers in a pair of wins over West Hall last week.
Dawson won their Region 7-3A home opener 13-1 on Tuesday, March 7, before falling on the road 10-6 on Wednesday. The Tigers rebounded with a 9-2 win back at home Friday night.
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“I like where we’re at. I think we’re in a good spot,” head coach Logan Burt said. “Going back to Tuesday’s game I thought we played well. Wednesday we went out, we’re not focused…but what I’m proud of is the way the guys bounced back.”
With the baseball season beginning just as the basketball season ended, Harvey and Priest pitched in two to three-inning sets for the first couple of weeks until their arms were fully warmed up to withstand a higher pitch count.
And by the time the Region 7-3A opener rolled around, Harvey already looked in mid-season form.
After splitting their early non-region games with a 4-4 record, the Tigers hit the ground running in region play with a 13-1 rout of West Hall at home last Tuesday.
Harvey only needed five innings to show his formidable form, racking up 13 strikeouts before the offense triggered the mercy rule.
At the plate, senior Colton Rucker led by example in all three games against West Hall, showing all sides of his versatility.
In the opener, Rucker drew two walks and scored twice — with the team combining for six walks in that game.
The highlight of that first game was a five-RBI performance by sophomore Elijah Odom, who hit a three-run home run and had two sacrifice flies.
Davis Glass also contributed by driving into two runs while Jacson Rickett had an RBI double.
The middle game saw the Tigers drop a 10-6 game in Oakwood, with Banks Hickman starting on the mound.
He threw just over three innings before Sawyer Bearden came on in relief, with the two combining for 10 strikeouts.
Rucker scored twice more, while Glass led the way with a four-RBI day.
Friday’s series finale proved to be another showcase of strong pitching from Dawson, with Priest throwing a complete game with 13 strikeouts in a 9-2 Tigers victory.
Dawson got on the board early, with Julian Horner hitting an RBI single in the first inning to drive in Rucker. Those two players would lead the offense that night, with each tallying three hits.
The Tigers would extend their lead in the third inning through a Glass sacrifice fly and an Odom RBI double before further opening up the game in the fourth inning.
With two outs, Bearden hit a single before Rucker followed up with a two-run homer. The speedy Horner would then get on base with an infield single before Glass drove him in on an RBI double, putting the score at 6-0 after four innings.
Priest would throw his only off inning in the top of the fifth, allowing four consecutive hits after retiring eight batters in a row.
Dawson would immediately respond to West Hall getting two runs across by scoring a pair of their own, with Bearden knocking in a two-run double.
Glass finished up the scoring with an RBI single to give the Tigers a 9-2 win and a 2-1 start to region play.
Dawson will commence a three-game series against Gilmer this week, with games on the road on Tuesday, March 14, at home on Thursday, March 16, and back at Gilmer on Friday, March 17.