The Tigers’ season ends at the hands of the defending state champions as North Hall swept Dawson County last week (7-6, 10-1, 18-8) to end their playoff hopes.
“What you tell them is that you’ve got to look at it as a whole season, don’t just look at it as one night,” said Coach Dwayne Sapp following the April 18 10-1 loss, which officially eliminated the Tigers from postseason contention. “There’s a lot of things that could’ve went one way or the other, but what I told them is that I was proud of them.”
After starting 1-5 in Region 7-AAA play, the Tigers (10-17, 7-11 Region 7-AAA) were in contention down to the next to last game of the season, and Sapp just couldn’t emphasize enough about how proud he was at his team’s ability to compete all season.
The Tigers faced a lot of adversity this season. Senior Palmer Sapp pitched more than he’s ever pitched before. Several sophomores that normally would’ve been on the junior varsity team, played prominent roles for the varsity club. Despite all that, the Tigers were in a close game every time they took the field.
“We get to about the fifth or sixth inning and we’re in it,” said Coach Sapp about playing tough despite the losses. “Or we have one big inning where the other team explodes, and we give up a bunch of runs.”
That was the story of the Tigers season and their series with North Hall (21-5, 16-2 Region 7-AAA). On April 16 at North Hall, the score was 6-6 heading into the seventh and final inning when the Trojans earned a walk-off win on a sacrifice fly to deep right field.
On April 18, the Tigers gave up six runs in the third inning and couldn’t recover despite a solo homerun from Palmer Sapp in his last home game as a Tiger. Back at North Hall on Friday, Dawson County gave up nine runs in the second inning to fall behind 12-0, but they competed as they have all season and scored seven runs of their own in the top of the third. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Trojans ended the game and the Tigers season after five innings, 18-8, via the mercy rule.
Despite missing the playoffs, senior Connor Bearden sees good things to come for the Dawson County squad he leaves behind after the growth they experienced this season.
“We had 13 graduate last year, so a lot of these kids are new, but we grew,” Bearden said. “In the fall, we worked hard, got to know each other very well and I love every one of them. Everyone gives their heart out, gives 110 percent.
“They’re going to be good. They’re young, but next year, they should be really good.”