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Lady Tigers bow out of tourney
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The Dawson County Lady Tigers celebrate their first tournament win in the state's Elite Eight at Columbus. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

The Dawson County Lady Tigers ended their season, and hopes of a championship, following a 10-0 loss to Central, Carroll in five innings Friday afternoon.

The  team fell 11-1 to Ringgold High School in their second game of the state's Class AAA Elite Eight tournament Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, the Lady Tigers bounced back from a 4-1 deficit to win their first game.

"Ladies, that's why you never give up," said third baseman Emily Hunsucker.

The Lady Tigers defeated a tough Pierce County, 5-4, after scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"They keep doing the same thing they've been doing all year," said Coach Jimmy Pruett. "It was just like they are capable of flipping the switch on and off. I'm just so happy and so proud of these girls."

Throughout the game, Pruett continued to reiterate a theme the team focused on throughout the season.

"You've got to want this," he told the girls in the dugout between each inning.

And want it they did. Trailing 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the team dug deep to pull out the victory.

Senior pitcher Joy Lewis led off the inning with a single up the middle. Sydney McGinnis followed with another single to put runners on first and second with no outs for first baseman Brooke Wende.

Wende followed suit and singled to load the bases.

With still no outs and bases loaded, junior catcher Katelynn Simpson singled up the middle to score Lewis and McGinnis, bringing the Lady Tigers to within one point, 4-3.

Sophomore shortstop Natalie Glass stepped to the plate and blasted an 0-2 pitch over the left fielder's head for a game-tying double.

Senior Anela Melton stepped to the plate with no outs, bases loaded and the winning run on third. With an 0-2 count, Melton hit a hard grounder to the shortstop's left side. The grounder was fielded deep, allowing the runner from third to score and the Lady Tigers to take the win.

After the game, Pruett continued his words of encouragement to the team.

"You never quit...we are going back to Dawson County, and we're going to have a championship trophy with us if we keep fighting and we stay together as a team, like we have game after game, all season long," he said.

Despite the tournament starting on a Thursday and being in a town three hours away, the Lady Tigers had a strong contingency of fans wearing maroon "Elite Eight" shirts in the stands to cheer them on.

"These girls don't know what quit is. They have a ton of fight in them, and we're so proud of them," said School Superintendent Damon Gibbs. "The district's excited. They bring a lot of pride back to Dawson County. What a great win."