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Lady Tigers softball excel in the clinch, qualify for state tournament
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Sophomore Layne Bailey winds up for a pitch against Gilmer on Friday, Oct. 8. - photo by Jacob Smith
TOP THREE STAT LEADERS 

Batting Average

  1. Ainsely Allen (.389)

  2. Rylie Erickson (.342) 

  3. Layne Bailey (.333) 


Runs

  1. Layne Bailey (25) 

  2. Lauren Kurtz (18)

  3. Rylie Erickson (15) 


Runs Batted In 

  1. Layne Bailey (26) 

  2. Olivia Martinez (21) 

  3. Micah Burruss (18) 


Extra-Base Hits 

  1. Layne Bailey (13) 

  2. Olivia Martinez (12) 

  3. Rylie Erickson (5)

Needing two wins and a North Hall loss, the Dawson County Lady Tigers softball team overcame adversity to qualify for the GHSA 3A State Tournament as the Region 7-3A fourth seed after beating Gilmer and White County in back-to-back games. 

Sophomore Layne Bailey pitched complete games in both Friday and Saturday’s win, allowing just four hits and one earned run in the 9-1 victory against Gilmer and just three earned runs against White County in the clinching 6-3 win Saturday morning. 

Friday’s game lasted just over an hour, with an explosive six-run fourth inning earning the Lady Tigers the five-inning mercy rule win. Senior Olivia Martinez zapped any momentum from Gilmer in the first inning, sending a three-run home run over the fence. Senior Anslee Kirby went 2-for-3 with a run batted in and Bailey drove in two runs on a hit in Friday’s win. 

Heading into the game at White County High School on Saturday morning, the Lady Tigers needed a win and for North Hall to lose against Cherokee Bluff. The Lady Tigers were down 2-1 at the end of the second inning, but continued to score, scoring runs in the third and fourth and sending in three runs in the fifth inning while shutting the Lady Warriors out until the seventh. 

Junior Lauren Kurtz hit a triple and drove in two runs in Saturday’s win, alongside Bailey who drove in two more runs for the Lady Tigers. Seniors Gracie Vaughn and Ainsley Allen both recorded two hits in Saturday’s win, with Vaughn driving in a run and scoring two herself. 

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Senior Rylie Erickson throws to first base for the game-ending double play against Gilmer on Friday, Oct. 8. - photo by Jacob Smith
After winning their game, the Lady Tigers learned North Hall lost to Cherokee Bluff 5-1 and would advance onto the GHSA 3A Softball State tournament alongside region champs East Forsyth, White County and Cherokee Bluff. 

Some statistical highlights from the regular season: five different Lady Tigers had a batting average over .300 on the season, with senior Ainsley Allen leading the team with a .389 average. Both Bailey and Martinez drove in over 20 runs. The Lady Tigers pitching staff struck out 68 opponents while only walking 56. 

As the regular season comes to a close, the Lady Tigers finished 11-10 in region play and will move on to play Westminster from Atlanta, Ga. on Tuesday, Oct. 12 in the first round of the state tournament. 

The Lady Tigers will battle in a best-of-three series, with the first two games played Tuesday afternoon, starting at 1:30 p.m. If the games are split 1-1 after Tuesday, a tiebreaker will be played on Wednesday. 

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