Playoff time is here for the Dawson County Lady Tigers varsity softball team.
Head Coach Jimmy Pruett's squad captured second place in Region 8A-AA with a 7-3 record and a 16-7 overall record.
With the second place finish the Lady Tigers hosted the first round of region play Monday and Tuesday.
The Lady Tigers finished the regular season behind sub-region champion Fannin County.
Union County placed third.
Because Fannin captured the sub-region title they will host the region finals on Thursday and Saturday in Blue Ridge.
Dawson was seeded over Union because of run differential, even though both teams finished 7-3 in the sub-region.
The first four teams that get through double elimination play will head off to sectionals next week.
Senior night was held Sept. 27 at Jack Waldrip Field in Dawsonville.
Pruett and his staff honored four Lady Tiger seniors: Kimberly Wallace, Anna Torres, Morgan Huber and Kristi Hyams. Each player and their family received a gift and a rose before the game against Fannin County.
Following the ceremonies Dawson responded with a huge 4-0 win over the Lady Rebels (15-11; 8-2).
Clutch hitting by Martie Rogers drove in the first two Lady Tigers runs.
In the first inning, Rogers singled home Taylor Shirley, who was pinch running for Jenna Abbott, with two outs to get Dawson on the board 1-0.
Pruett's team added another run in the third inning.
Abbott doubled to left field with one out. Shirley came on again to pinch run for Abbott. After a fly out to centerfield, Rogers stepped to the plate again. Once again Rogers came through with a single up the middle that scored Shirley. Dawson led 2-0.
Samantha Moulder doubled to left center moving Rogers to third. Both runners were left stranded to end the inning.
Moulder left the game later with an injured shoulder. She did not play the next day against Union County. Her status is day-to-day for the region tournament, according to Pruett.
Dawson put the game away in the fourth inning. The team scored two more runs and extended its lead to 4-0.
With one out Wallace singled to left field. Becca Monkus, playing for the injured Moulder, came through with a single to left field with two outs that moved Wallace to third.
Up next was Abbott who hit a towering drive to left field. The Lady Rebel left fielder lost the ball as it ricocheted off the fence and drove in Wallace and Monkus.
Abbott picked up the win on the mound with a complete game shutout.
She allowed only four hits to a potent Lady Rebels attack. She recorded four strikeouts while issuing only two walks.
There was no rest for the Lady Tigers.
On Wednesday the team played Union County (22-7; 7-3), who was also seeking to win first place in the sub-region.
The game was made up of big plays for both teams. Union drove the winning run across the plate in the seventh inning to take a 1-0 win back to Blairsville.
Pruett had to juggle his lineup due to the loss of Moulder. It was evident as Dawson struggled to get any offense going. The Lady Tigers managed only two hits.
The two hits were by Kimberly Wallace in the first inning with a line drive double over the centerfielders head and Abbott in the sixth inning with a single to left field.
Pitching was also a battle Wednesday afternoon as arguably two of the best pitchers in class AA went head to head.
Lady Panthers pitcher Angie Hughes kept the Dawson hitters off stride all afternoon. Hughes finished the game with 13 strike outs. Hughes was Region 8-AA player-of-the-year last season.
Dawson sent its ace Jenna Abbott to the mound. Despite pitching a good game she came away with the loss. Abbott had eight strikeouts while giving up six hits.
Union led off the seventh with a bunt single by Catie Tanner. Tanner reached second on a sacrifice bunt. It looked like Dawson would get out of the inning after a pop up to Lady Tiger second baseman Gracie Hovan. But senior Rebecka Merritt took an Abbott pitch and singled to right center driving in the game's only run.
The Lady Tigers traveled to Homer to face Banks County (16-8; 4-6) on Thursday. The Lady Leopards defeated Dawson 4-3 in midseason. This time the Lady Tigers offered up some payback and came away with a 3-0 win.
The Lady Tigers defeated Elbert County 10-0 Monday afternoon. The team was scheduled to play Banks County Tuesday afternoon. Results of that game were not available as of press time.