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Lady Tigers ready to play
S-DCHS Softball
Catcher Katelynn Simpson throws down to second base in a bunt coverage drill last week. - photo by Pam Jacobs Dawson Community News

The 2015 Dawson County High School softball season will begin Friday at the Lanier Pointe Invitational tournament in Gainesville.

The Lady Tigers have participated in the tournament for the last several years.

The team is coming off a spectacular campaign last season, which saw Coach Jimmy Pruett's team play at the Class AAA state tournament in Columbus.

Eight seniors graduated from that team: Joy Lewis, Emily Hunsucker, Brooke Wende, Samantha Keeney, Savannah Haberkam, Hannah McConnell, Anela Melton and Madison Adams.

"It will be very difficult, they were a special group, very talented on and off the field," Pruett said.

The veteran coach said he feels very blessed to have seen the success his teams have seen.

"I have been blessed with a lot of talent over the years; we have reached the state tournament several times," he said.

This season could be a rebuilding year for the program.

Pruett, a 20-year veteran head coach, must rely on a strong nucleus of players that includes Tabitha Morrison (outfield/pitcher), Katelynn Simpson (catcher), Sydney McGinnis (outfield), Heather Brady (outfield) and Natalie Glass (shortstop/pitcher) if they are to be successful.

"They (Morrison, Simpson, McGinnis, Brady, Glass) have to play well for us again this year. They have all been working hard this year. Also they may have to play different positions this year. Tabitha is a first team all-state outfielder, who may have to pitch," Pruett said.

Pitching will be a key for the Lady Tigers. Gone is Lewis who ate up most of the innings from the circle last season. This year's pitching staff will be shared between four different players Morrison, Glass, KK Richards and Maggie Schendara. There is only three varsity innings of experience in this group.

With five returning starters, and pitching being a big question mark the Lady Tigers may have to move several players to different positions depending on who is pitching in that game.

There is a lot of competition for the first base and third base positions on the team. Vying for that position is Kaila Billingsley, Brandy Torres, Gabby Buchan, Skyler Caine, Katie Brady and Brittany Griggs are all working hard to fill these positions.

Pruett said that the competition this weekend will be good for the team moving forward.

"We will just to see, after playing games in the tournament, what we need to improve on. See who can play where."

Dawson County will open the season with a game against North Hall at 4 p.m. on Friday.

On Saturday the Lady Tigers will play East Hall at 10:30 a.m., Union County at 2 p.m. and will finish with Commerce at 4:30 p.m.

Assistant coaches for this year's team are Logan Allen, John Lundy and Megan Waters.