DAWSONVILLE-Joy Lewis fielded the final out from the pitchers circle and fired the ball over to teammate Brooke Wende at first base Thursday afternoon.
Lewis then put her hands to her face as tears flowed. The Dawson County Lady Tigers had defeated Cedartown, 9-2, to advance to the state tournament in Columbus.
"Our main goal was to get to Columbus," Lewis said. "I feel great. This has been our team goal all season. We came out ready to play today."
With the win, The Lady Tigers (21-5-1) advanced to the Class AAA Elite Eight. Dawson County will face Pierce County Oct. 30 in the first round. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m.
"We jumped up early on them (Cedartown)," said Lewis, a senior that has already committed to continue her playing career at Pennsylvania next season.
Lewis pitched a great game. She gave up just three hits.
She also contributed with the bat as well going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Dawson County split with the Lady Bulldogs on Wednesday. The Lady Tigers won the first game 3-2 before losing the nightcap 6-1.
This will be the first trip to the state playoffs since Dawson County began fast pitch in 2001.
"I'm so happy for these girls. They have worked so hard to get to this point. Our goal was to get to Columbus and now that has come true," said Head Coach Jimmy Pruett.
"I thought Joy did a great job on the mound for us," he said. "Natalie (Glass), Tabitha (Morrison) and Heather (Brady) really had a good series and all three of them hit the ball today."
Morrison, Glass and Brady each had three hits apiece in the 14-hit attack by Dawson County. Morrison connected on two doubles with an RBI. Glass and Brady each had 2 RBIs.
Dawson County lost the coin flip and had to be the visitors at Jack Waldrip Field. But the Lady Tigers were ready and scored four first inning runs to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
The big hit of the inning was a bases clearing single to right center by Katelynn Simpson.
"Scoring those four runs early really took the pressure off of us," Pruett said.
Pruett's team added a single run in the third inning.
The Lady Tigers sealed the game with three runs in the fifth inning on four hits. Heather Brady drove in two of those runs on a single to right center.